Restoring a visual tradition

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48-Chapel-windows-repair-2.jpgBen Wiens (left) and Edwin Fadenrecht hold a restored stained-glass window from the Tabor College Chapel. After an engineering firm reported in 1993 that the center trusses over the chapel in the Administration Building were seriously ?over-stressed with a high probability of failure,? it was decided to renovate the historic room. The stage was removed and bids gathered on cleaning and restoring each of the 80 stained-glass panels.

The estimated cost of $200,000 was considered unacceptable, so in keeping with decades of community service, more than 50 people volunteered to help, including 96-year-old Solomon Loewen, who, as a young faculty member in the 1920s, had helped raise money for the original windows. The 80 panels were carefully removed and relocated to the Hillsboro home of Ben and Mary Wiens. Ben, an experienced stained-glass hobbyist, carefully cut and matched new glass where replacement was needed. More than 2,100 hours were donated with supplies and glass costing only $12,000?a significant cost saving and a marvelous example to students, the college and the community of individuals working together for the benefit of others.

The above anecdote is included in ?Tabor College: A Century of Transformation 1908-2008,? the history of the college commissioned for this year?s centennial celebration. The book can be purchased for $48.39 (tax included) plus $5 for shipping. Call 620-947-3121 ext. 1212 for information or orders.

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