After the Fire - Four CSS Restorations

By four publications
Published in The CSS Archives

After a devastating fire gutted St. Mary's Church in Burlington, Wisconsin, Conrad Schmitt Studios was commissioned to restore the damaged and destroyed stained glass windows and the interior decoration. Coincidentally, Studio archives revealed that CSS had decorated St. Mary's in 1920. Much of the damaged interior was from that decorative scheme, including the decorative painting, Stations of the Cross, altars, and murals. 

The roof and ceiling of St. Mary’s had been completely destroyed by the fire, but the structure of the vaulted ceiling with ribs and pendants soon was restored. The historic stained glass windows also suffered significant damage. Glass and lead cames were cracked, broken, and melted throughout the stained glass windows.

The restoration of the stained glass windows and the Stations of the Cross was carried out at the well-equipped Studio. The plaster work, decorative painting, and gilding within the church were aided by extensive scaffolding. All of the extensive, specialized work was conducted over the course of more than a year.

Conrad Schmitt Studios’ watercolor rendering illustrated how the rebuilding of the church interior could be an opportunity to incorporate the tenets of Vatican II into the traditional interior. The communion rail was eliminated, the sanctuary was brought forward on a thrust predella, and the side altars and murals were removed to reduce distractions from the Altar and the Eucharistic celebration. The Altar of Reservation was retained, but in the function of a reredos and receptacle for the Blessed Sacrament.

For three additional church fire articles, download this PDF.


After the Fire - Four CSS Restorations (PDF 11.36 Mb)

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