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Stained Glass - Missouri State Capitol

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Project Scope:

The project includes the removal, restoration, and reinstallation of The Great Window, a 22'-3" x 22'-10" stained glass barrel vault laylight. The appraised value of the stained glass is approximately $17.3 million. Additionally, above the lightwell, the ornamental plaster, frame, and surrounding will be restored and painted.

Project Cost:

Approximately $3.4 million

Project Timeline:

Estimated Completion: Fall 2024


New York artist, Herman T. Schladermundt, was commissioned to design and fabricate "The Great Window" for the Missouri State Capitol. He began the design and fabrication process in 1920, and completed it in 1922. The assembly contains American opalescent glass and painted antique glass, placed in layers with lead came. The "laylight" is subdivided into leaded glass panels, which are set into a massive and complex steel superstructure suspended from the above concrete roof rafters. There is approximately seven feet between the laylight and the skylight above, which creates a lightwell to direct light into the building.

What's Missing?:

Designed in the Italian Renaissance Style, The Great Window is filled with richly-colored stained glass pieces that depict the history of Missouri, development along the river, state natural resources, agriculture, and so much more!

Between 1918 and 1928, the Capitol Decoration Commission added a large, cathedral laylight to what Lester S. Parker (member of the Capitol Decoration Commission) referred to as "probably the most monumental feature of the building". Schladermundt designed the massive laylight that measures more than 500 square feet.

What Happened?:

Throughout its history, The Great Window has gone through several repairs and various restorations - none quite as extensive as the one today. In the 1990s, a washer-and-rod system was attached to the saddle bars (a metal bar, offering additional bracing and support to the window panel and frame) by drilling through the stained glass in order to install anchors on both sides of the laylight. This caused the glass to crack in most locations.


This project will preserve the integrity of The Great Window, which was in poor condition. The broken and missing pieces of glass, as well as a deteriorating structural support system, were carefully documented and assessed by contractors and a world-renowned stained glass consultant from Lake Placid, NY. The stained glass window will be carefully disassembled and shipped to California where a stained glass subcontractor will fully restore the historic glasswork back to it's original design intent. The steel structure, lightwell, ornamental plaster frame, and surrounding is also planned to be restored and repainted.

What to Expect:

During the project's disassembly and reassembly phases, structural scaffolding and protection will be constructed over the Grand Stair. While the glass is being restored off-site, custom, semi-translucent plexiglass sections will be installed and affixed to the steel superstructure to adequately disperse natural light in the absence of the stained glass panels. There will be temporary closures of the affected corridors throughout the restoration process, with minor interruptions to the building occupants.