From Stained Glass to Stone Carvings Belmont College Students Preserve History

It’s Historic Preservation Month, and in a town like Wheeling with such a rich history, there are so many ways to cherish the beauty of history. The simplest way to enjoy the ongoing works of prevention in Wheeling is to go for a stroll somewhere like the Chapline Street row houses or North Wheeling’s Historic District. A lot of labor goes into making the roofs and windows of Wheeling historic buildings shine. No one knows that better, perhaps, than the students of Belmont College’s Building Preservation and Restoration program. Engaged in a two-year course, these students cover all manner of preservation work. On May 2, four students, Patrick Abboud, Kaden Otte, Katherine Haney, and Adam Windsor, got the chance to showcase some of their work at the Artisan Center.

The students showcased an array of work, from delicate stained glass to handcrafted woodwork. While enrolled in the program, students can focus on several disciplines, such as ornamental plaster, wood parquetry, stained glass, blacksmithing, and ceramic tiles.

Adam Windsor

Adam will graduate from the program in 2025 with a focus on wood parquetry. In line with his focus, Adam submitted an assignment from his roofing and flooring class to create an intricate mini-parquet floor, which he decided to turn into a chessboard.  He also submitted a stained glass lampshade, “I really enjoyed making this piece because it was my first time making a three-dimensional piece of stained glass, and I also had a chance to use copper foil instead of lead.” He also submitted a two-dimensional stained glass follower, which he styled in shades of blue and purple. Adam says he enjoys learning a wide array of skills, “You can find whatever you’re interested in. It’s very fun because you can find a variety of different options of what to do.”

Adam Windsor with his mini-parquet chessboard.

Kaden Otte

Kaden likes that he gets to learn a bit of everything in this program. When Kaden learned about the program, he was immediately interested: “I have always had an interest in history and old buildings since childhood. So when I found out I could make a career out of both those things together I immediately became enthralled in Historic Preservation.” For the showcase, Kaden submitted a stained glass piece with an original design. He also submitted a stunning hand-carved limestone block based on a medieval tile. Finally, he included a plaster medallion decorated with Victorian stylings and appliques. Along with learning about the skills required to make these pieces, Kaden also says, “The entire way I view the world around me has changed.” The program has inspired him to see the beauty in history all around, and he has hope for all of the possibilities to restore the history he sees.

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  • Kaden with his work.

Patrick Abboud

“Coffee” is the title Patrick gave the stained glass lampshade, with rich brown and yellow detailing, that he intends to apply to an antique lamp. He also showcased a work of mini-parquet flooring, with multi-toned woodwork. With two different examples of what he has learned, Patrick highlights how he is still finding his focus in the program. So far in the program, Patrick has found himself gaining confidence in skills never before attempted, along with finding new ways to be creative. “I think I am just gaining more and more respect for beautiful, well-built structures. It is clear to me that there is just as much to gain emotionally as there is structurally when it comes down to prioritizing the physical history of our communities.”

Patrick’s work, “Coffee,” and mini-parquet floor tile.

Katherine Haney

“It is super satisfying to see a piece come together. There’s a lot of effort that goes into making each piece, that it fits right, and that it all looks perfect in the end.” Katherine has a focus on stained glass work, and all three of her displayed projects showcase her quality of work. Leaning towards pink and red hues, Kathrine plans out the coloring of each of her glassworks with glass from the WIssmach Glass Company. Kathrine described a visit the class took to learn about the process of making the glass, “The glass is already dyed when it’s mixed together. We went to Wissmach [Paul Wissmach Glass Company], and we got to see them throw stuff together. They have the different pigments and different colors and mix them together, and it’s rolled out like that.” Ultimately, Katherine’s favorite part of the program is all the technical trades she gets to learn.“I like the hands-on work; I want to provide that service to my community.”

Kathrine’s stained glass work.

 

The artistry that goes into preserving our history is truly beautiful to see up close. The work of revitalizing historic architecture does not have to be revered only by the dedicated students of Belmont’s Preservation and Restoration program, though. Wheeling Heritage helps connect those who own old buildings or have an interest in buying one with preservation resources for the development of historic buildings. Check out this video by Wheeling Heritage Media to learn about the work we help facilitate. If restoring a beautiful historic property is something you feel like doing, that’s okay, too. Just take a moment this month to admire the beautiful architecture of our city and all the ways people are working to preserve it.


• Makayla Carney, a Wheeling native, is the 2023-2024 AmeriCorps member for Wheeling Heritage, where she will get to write all about the history and culture of her hometown. She has a B.F.A. in Film and Television from DePaul University in Chicago. She adores all kinds of art, a lavender latte, and the occasional performance on the Towngate Theatre stage.