The River Jordan Window by Louis Comfort Tiffany Circa 1913-1914 - Restoration 1993 - Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) was renowned for his experimental designs in glass. Tiffany Studios, the business developed by Tiffany to enable him to produce his various designs, is best remembered for its windows and lamps. "The River Jordan" is an art masterpiece purchased by the children of Mrs. Edward W. Morley in 1912 and dedicated in her memory. A letter of intention was located in the Church archives in February, 1992 by Miss Beatrice Warner and Mrs. Florence Smith. The exact date of installation has not been ascertained. However, Mrs. Virginia Nash, a Morley family descendant, recalls the approximate time as 1913-1914 (when she was five or six years old). The window was originally placed on the north wall of the nave. It was moved to the north transept when the Timler series windows were installed in 1967.

The disastrous fire of June, 1973 threatened the safety of the Tiffany and Timler windows. Fortunately, they were protected by parts of the ceiling that fell to cover them. Much credit for saving the windows goes to the carefulness of the Saginaw Fire Department. The Tiffany Studios window, "The River Jordan," embodies Tiffany's artistic philosophy and is an irreplaceable example of the work of Tiffany Studios. It is quite unlike most other leaded glass windows. The scene depicted is created without the use of paint or enamel. Through careful selection of an incredible variety of glass pieces, the artist was able to create an extraordinary image. The colors and shadows integral to the glass are further enriched by the intensive use of plating, the layering of glass. The window is three feet wide and nineteen feet tall. It consists of three major panels, a circle panel and a right and left kite.

The flowing Jordan River is the focal point of the pastoral scene, made up of mountains, sunset, willow trees and two prominent oak trees. Lofty clouds dominate the upper window, kites, and circle kites. It is the brilliant orange oak leaves that Libby DeRosa, Tiffany historian, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, identifies as a typical Tiffany characteristic. In 1989, the lower panel of the window began to show damage. As the panel bulged and the glass separated and cracked, the need for restoration was imminent. A committee was established and fund-raising began. Miss Helene Gillette, of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, was secured as the consultant to direct and oversee the restoration. Upon her first examination in August, 1992, she observed that the window was set in a reverse position.

In April, 1993, the lower panel was removed by the Tiffany experts of Willet Hauser Art Glass Studios and taken to their facility in Winona, Wisconsin for the delicate process of cleaning and restoration. On June 24, the completed panel was returned. The upper panels, kites, and circle were removed and cleaned. Simultaneously, the stops on the window frame were removed and replaced to accommodate the reversed window. Because the perimeter of the inner plate had been trimmed to within one-half inch of the work itself, this was especially difficult. The restoration and preservation of our fine "Tiffany Treasure" was made possible through the generous contributions of members and friends of First Congregational Church. They provided the funds necessary to clean, restore, reverse, and protect it. We thank each and every one who has given to this worthy project and has made possible the viewing of "The River Jordan" as it is now—an art treasure for all to enjoy.

-The Tiffany Restoration Committee


Katherine Adams - in memory of Carolyn Wilde

Bobbie and Bruce Allen - in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Petersen

Frank Andersen

George and Oneta Anderson

Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Aperauch - in memory of Carolyn Wilde

Betsey Arnold

Carlton E. Averill

Jane Barnett

Abbie Barron Thomas and Harriet Baskins

Irveline Benfield - in memory of Carolyn Wilde Alvin and Carolyn Benson

Jean Boehlke

Jeanne Borchard

Dr. William and Nancy Bow

Fred and Margaret Brown

Mr. and Mrs. George H. Brown

Helen Bunker - in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Petersen

Thomas and Barbara Burdick

Catherine Burkard - in memory of Carolyn Wilde

George Burrows IV

Lydia Burrows

Marjorie Butt Robert and Virginia Byrne

Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Cartwright - in memory of Carolyn Wilde

Orphelia Carus

Robert and Grace Chandler

Ray and Alice Chapman

Jon and Lynn Cisky

Bryan and Jane Cook

Charles and Pauline Coulter

Janet Crane

William and Marilyn Crane

Ruth Crawford

Ivalu I. Crist - in memory of Carolyn Wilde

Thomas and Lauren Deisler

James Deremo - in memory of Carolyn Wilde

Arnice and Marion Detzler

Lyn Detzler

Howard and Margaret Doud

Marian Dunn - in memory of Carolyn Wilde

Lucille Dykman

Marianne Ewen

Kurt and Barbara Ewend

Dale and Catherine Faunce

Terrelene Felgenhauer

Sally Ferriby

David and Ann Flucke - in memory of Arthur Flucke

Marion Frahm

Peter Frantz

Dr. Richard and Alma Gilmore

Allan C. and Jeanne Grigsby

Robert W. and Patricia Grant, Jr.

Robert and Susanne Grant Sr.

Luther Hale

Dr. George and Laurelynne Harris

Mary Harrison Sidney and Enid Hausding

Dr. Duane and Louise Heilbronn

Dr. Duane Heilbronn, Jr.

Morse Heineman

Alfred Henny

Donald and Patricia Hickey - in memory of James Brown Philip and Joan Hill

David Holmgren

James, Paul, and Elaine Holmgren

Alda Horgan

B.J. and Laura Humphreys

Oscar and Ilah Huyghe

James and Louise Hyde - in memory of Norene Albers and Geneva Stutesman

Dr. John and Jessie Iliff

W. C. and Virginia Jackson

Kathryn Ann Johnson

Mrs. G. R. Johnston - in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Petersen

James and Emilie Kanitz

Dr. Donald and Gertrude Keiser

Carl and Violet King and Kenneth Kraus - in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Petersen

Michael and Deborah Kwaiser

William and Mary Lauman

William and Jean Laut

Bertha Law

Hughe and Louisa Lawrence

Mariane Lites

Willis MacKay

Ellis and Lucille Mahan

Mary Mahan

Thelma McCormick

Pearl E. McMacken - in memory of Carolyn Wilde

Jack and Virginia Merrill

Mary Meyer - in memory of Carolyn Wilde

Albert Miller

Goll Mills Fund

Dr. James and Barbara Mitchell

Morley Foundation

Ted and Sally Morley

Donald and Virginia Nash

Susanne Nelson

William and Charlotte Nickle

Susan and Paul Nielsen

Charles and Eleanor Olson

Richard and Jeanette Parks

Berneeta Pedlow

Henry and Greta Pendell

Lydia Peters - in memory of Charles H. Peters

William and Mona Pochelon

Alice S. Prentice - in memory of Carolyn Wilde

John and Florence Reaghe

Recovery, Inc.

John and Iris Rick and sons - in memory of F. John Heilbronn

Rick and Dan Toshach

Margaret Rorke

Mary Rosa - in memory of Carolyn Wilde

Mr. and Mrs. Donald Schek - in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Petersen

Betti R. Schneider - in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Petersen

Edward Schutt and Katherine Seiferlein - in memory of Carolyn Wilde

Carl and Geraldine Shuberg

Dr. and Mrs. Phillip Sidwell - in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Petersen

Ethelyn Siler

Albert and Dorothy Smith

Amelia Smith

Florence Smith

Harry and Mary Sowton

Robert and Sally Speer

Betty Spence

Jim and Barb Stamper

Lora Standish Circle - in memory of Carolyn Wilde

John and Barb Stark

Yvonne Storm - in memory of Carolyn Wilde

Richard and Lucy Thomson

Leslie and Marion Tincknell

Chrystal Toft

Martha Volz - in memory of Carolyn Wilde

Beatrice Warner and Lois Watson - in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Petersen

Robert and Catherine Wendland

Jarvis and Emelie Wickes

Elton and Geraldine Williams

Mary K. Williams

Women's Fellowship of First Congregational Church