Church Is Home To Oklahoma's Oldest Stained Glass

Wednesday, October 29th 2008, 6:12 pm
By: News On 6

By Rick Wells, The News On 6

NOWATA, OK -- Oklahoma has many hidden treasures, but The News On 6 heard of one up in Nowata that even local residents haven't heard about.  It is Oklahoma's oldest stained glass window. It was created 500 years ago for a chapel in France, was sold at an art auction at Gimbles Department Store and landed in Nowata's First Presbyterian Church.

Nothing out front of the First Presbyterian Church in Nowata would alert you to how special the window really is.

The News On 6 met Bimi Hicks and Melanie Holdredge at the back door of the church.  They're the keepers of the information regarding the window.

The window is entitled "The Crucified Christ."  It was created in the early 1500's for a French duke

"The Duke of Chioseul.  I think that's the pronunciation.  I could be wrong," said Melanie Holdredge.

The window eventually ended up in the art collection of William Randolph Hearst.

"Over the years it ended up in Gimbles Department Store, at a Hearst family auction," said Melanie Holdredge.

Mrs. J. Wood Glass eventually bought it for her church in Nowata.

"She had intended to build this chapel in memory of her husband, so it's more or less planned around this window," said Bimi Hicks.

The glass has been professionally certified as 90% original.  There is lots of beautiful stained glass

at the First Presbyterian Church.  Some were created by a pastor's wife.  Others were created 50 years ago by children using broken glass and Elmer's Glue.

But, clearly the must see is "The Crucified Christ" commissioned by a French duke whose frequent house guest was Italian master Leonardo DeVinci.

"It is possible we are looking at stained glass that Leonardo De Vinci may have looked upon," said Melanie Holdredge.

If you'd like to have a look at the window, those at the First Presbyterian Church in Nowata would love to see you on Sunday mornings at 11 or you can call the Nowata Historical Museum and arrange a tour at 918-273-1191.