The Paterson Historic Preservation Commission holds monthly tours approximately May through November and the final one for 2014 was a showstopper!
Narrated by Joshua Castaño, a Paterson native and historian specializing in preservation of sacred spaces, we toured four churches known for their spectacular stained glass. Two tour buses of interested folks started out at the Great Falls Welcome Center and went to Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic near Eastside High School.
The church was built in the 1860s and it was ravaged by the 1902 Paterson fire so the stained glass was replaced in the period between 1902 and 1914.
I thought the window behind the pipe organ was particularly beautiful.
Next, we went to Saint Paul’s Episcopal at East 18th and Van Houten Streets. Organized in 1812, this is the third church building and it is from the 1890’s.
The entire interior of this church was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany but the stained glass was from several different makers. There were even some John La Farge windows which is rare because the two designers were rivals and didn’t work together.
We learned about the roodscreen which is the metalwork separating the altar area from the rest of the church. Inside the altar area is where the La Farge windows are.
This stunning mosaic piece was at the rear of the church.
Even the children’s play area had beautiful glass art in it.
Next on the tour was United Presbyterian which was just down Van Houten from Saint Paul’s so we took a short walk.
This church is a 1882 building and was designed by J.C. Cady. This was Vice President of the United States Garret Hobart’s home church. He sponsored the Tiffany window which we featured at the top of the article.
This church had amazing stained glass as well as one of the most interesting ceilings we’ve ever seen inside a church. It had a nautical feeling with angels coming out of each beam.
Most of the churches had beautiful mosaics and tilework to go with the stained glass.
Our final stop on the tour was at First Presbyterian on Main Street near Ward Street. It was a large building but the congregational area was fairly small compared to the other buildings we’d seen on the tour.
V.P. Garret Hobart’s wife, Jenny Tuttle, grew up in this church and her father, Socrates Tuttle, was Hobart’s mentor. This mosaic was my favorite of the day and it was dedicated to Socrates Tuttle after he died. It glowed like there was sunlight inside it. It was breathtaking.
The current building is from the 1850s but one of the first Sunday Schools in the United States was started here in 1794 by Sarah Colt so the congregation is one of the oldest in Paterson.
In fact, this was the first parcel of land given from the S.U.M. for a church out of their land holdings. The windows are from the 1880-1890 era and were made by Thomas Pane.
This has been such a popular tour that it’s sure to be held again next year. We can’t recommend it highly enough! But, then again, we’ve loved all the tours given by the Paterson Historic Preservation Commission.
Enjoy all the pictures from our tour below:
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