Come inside and take a look inside our church. We'd love to have YOU in our picture.
Te Deum Window
History and Construction
The focal point in the Sanctuary is the Stoddard memorial window, designed by Tiffany studios, on the south wall of the church. The window was given by Susan K. Stoddard in memory of John W. Stoddard (1837-1917), who was an active and supportive member of First Presbyterian Church, Dayton, and a successful businessman, having founded the Dayton Motor Car Company, which launched Stoddard-Dayton automobiles in 1905.
The window was commissioned from the New York studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1918. It was completed in 1919 at a cost of $10,000. After a short public display in New York, it was shipped to Dayton and installed in the south wall of the First Presbyterian Church.
When Ralph Adams Cram, the nationally recognized architect, was hired to build Westminster, he initially dismissed the idea of using this window in his new design, reportedly for aesthetic reasons. Minutes of a special meeting of the Building Committee on July 17, 1924, record his eventual reluctant acceptance that this memorial window, “though not especially good, should be embodied in the new building.” Subsequently, he designed the building in such a way that with all the front doors open, one may walk up the steps from the street to the Sanctuary and have an unobstructed view of the full height of the window.
The earliest brochures about this window quote Edward Stanton George, who is identified as one of the great artists of stained glass. Mr. George was also, at the time, the manager of the Ecclesiastical Department at Tiffany Studios. He calls this “the finest medallion window in America” and adds the assurance that it is no doubt Tiffany’s masterpiece.
This is known as a medallion window because of the distinct panels within it. It is known as a triple lancet window because of the shape of the three sections, which are each tall, thin and come to a point at the top.
Mr. Louis C. Tiffany was well-renowned for the unique nature and high quality of his stained glass work. In a 1922 publication by Tiffany studios, which features a picture of this window, Tiffany is described as a scientist as well as an artist, who “discovered a means of producing a material fraught with colors, surfaces and textures in infinite variety and varying degrees of transparency. It was not only opalescent, deriving its play of colors largely by transmitted light, but it was also iridescent with a permanent, metallic lustre, emitting rainbow effects by light reflected from the surfaces,” which he trademarked as Tiffany favrile glass. This window is composed of thousands of varying pieces of this multi-colored and multi-textured glass, held together by strips of lead and copper.
In this window there is a dominant note of purple, a rich and glowing color, and yet there is very little purple glass. Instead, this is the result of light shining through glass of different colors in such a way as to produce a third color.