Saving Sparta history one piece at a time

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:16

    SPARTA-With age, many things begin to sag, and windows are no exception. The former Methodist Church located at 15 Sparta Ave. is home to some of the oldest stained glass in Sparta. In fact, the building is the only church in the township with windows dating back to the 19th Century. Using opulent glass, which was considered revolutionary at the time, nine separate window openings were built into the structure in the late 1800s. Over the past year, church officials recognized that the glass in many of the windowsills had begun to sag, placing stress on the pieces of stained glass. To preserve such unique pieces of history, the congregation mobilized to have the window frames replaced. The estimate for the renovation of each window is in the thousands of dollars. So far only the window at the front of the church facing Main Street has been re-framed at a cost of $14,000. The first chapter of the renovation project, which was started in early summer, was closed last week when the first window was returned to its home. "So many historical sites in town are not saved (because of) either lack of funds or lack of interest. We want to preserve this because of its unique interest," said the church's minister Christina Fritsch. "They are not duplicates. These windows are one-of-a-kind."