Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Beautiful Field Trip

I love field trips! This one didn't interest the kids as much as it did my husband and I...but hey, that's ok; we like to do stuff too you know!

We visited Trinity Episcopal Church, the oldest church in our city. Three churches have been constructed on this site. The first structure was built in 1763; the second in 1830 and the current building was completed in 1855. It is INCREDIBLE (sadly, my photos are not).

There is a lot of history to the building. The architecture is incredible! There is no indoor plumbing and the electricity was added very discreetly. There is no heating or air conditioning system in the building; it's all housed in another building and the heat and cool air is pumped in through underground pipes.

Sounds boring I'm sure. But the wonderful thing about this church is the stained glass windows. The church has a varied collection of stained glass (35 to be exact), the earliest dating from the mid-nineteenth century. Thirteen of the windows are made of early 20th century opalescent glass; twelve are by the Tiffany Studios. All of the windows were gifts to the church throughout the years.

The above photo is of the Ascension Triptych (c. 1897), and it appears to be the first of the Tiffany windows to be installed in the building. Some say it is the finest of the Tiffany windows, incorporating some of the best drapery glass Tiffany ever used. Signed "Tiffany Glass and Decorating Co., New York, 1897".

The Wise men (Lamb Studios, 1946).

The Nativity (J&R Lamb Studios, c. 1906).

The window of the Madonna and Child is the last of the Tiffany windows installed in the church. This window was dedicated in 1937, and bears the script signature "Louis C. Tiffany, NY". This window caused quite a upheaval in the church because it depicted Mary wearing a red outfit instead of the white or blue that most religious folks of the day were accustomed to. The church almost refused this window because of the outlandish garment!

Benedicite (Garden) Window (Tiffany Studios, c. 1903). This window, unlike any other representational window in the church, contains no painting on the glass.

The Archangel Michael (Tiffany Studios, c. 1914). Of special note in this window is the use of plating to portray translucent clouds. This window also caused an upheaval, because it was donated during the war and the church goers didn't feel it was right to have a "warrior" angel in the church. Now come on, I'd MUCH rather have this dude protecting me that the little fat babies in diapers with a bow and arrow that most people perceive as angels.

Another fascinating part of the church is The Trinity Organ, Opus #34. This organ was made in the year 2000 by Taylor and Boody. It has 32 stops, with 2280 speaking pipes on three manuals and pedals. All parts of the organ, with the exception of the blower, were designed and crafted by hand in the builder's workshop. The casework is made from local black walnut, with carvings that represent birds of the area and a little lamb.

Here is the only decent photo of the organ.

There is a graveyard in the church courtyard. The tombstones are very interesting. One in particular caught my eye, it was that of a Revolutionary War Soldier....he was 8 years old; so I assume he was a drummer boy.

My camera is a very basic (read cheap and not all that good) model, so my photos aren't particularly stunning. However, if you're in the area, this is a great free field trip!

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