The windows in the Congregational Church of Austin are unquestionably some of the finest in Texas. They were designed and created by the Jacoby Stained Glass Studio of St. Louis, MO. Additional information can be found here. The large German population accounts for St. Louis becoming a major center for stained glass in the United States. The windows started their life in the First Congregational Church of Austin at Ninth and Colorado Street. The new building, designed by Arthur Osborn Watson, an architect and member of the church, was completed in 1906. The Texas State Historical Association web site states, “The church was an imaginative stout masonry building with a large center hall spanned by an iron trussed roof. Its style was quite unusual at that time.” An early postcard of the church is shown here.
The profusion of stained glass windows is quite evident in this photo, especially noteworthy are the large almost onion-shaped windows that adorn the sanctuary. With little to obstruct the light, they surely provided a feast for the eye on a bright Sunday morning. Two of the windows are dedicated to C. C. Moore and Norman Potter. Both were members of the 1901 committee that filed the Articles of Incorporation of The Methodist Church of Austin, TX. The committee signatures are at right. Note also the signature of A. O. Watson, architect who designed the church. In May of 1904, the church officially changed its name to: First Congregational Church of Austin.
In 1921, hoping to stabilize and maybe grow its membership, the church decided to move near the University. Noted Austin architect and church member, Hugo Franz Kuehne, was chosen to design the new building at 23rd and San Antonio. The building was dedicated December 9, 1925. Fortunately, a decision was made to incorporate the stained glass windows from the “old” church into the new church, where they remain today.
(Photo courtesy of David Ross.)
While appreciation of the windows requires no instruction in art, no brochure on their history and no religious commitment, these can, however, enhance the inspiration which derives from beholding these magnificent works of art. Here we provide some background information on each window, with the hope that the stories associated with each will become part of the church’s tradition, to be shared by future generations and quoted in support of the window’s preservation. As prized symbols of the church’s heritage they deserve no less.
Click on a window below to see larger version and information about window.