Tiffany Stained Glass in Shelby, North Carolina
In 1911, when The First Baptist Church of Shelby dedicated its new Gothic Revival edifice, the exterior sanctuary walls were filled with magnificent stained glass windows manufactured by the Lewis Comfort Tiffany Company of New York. Hundreds of square feet of luminous opalescent glass were filled with images of a benevolent Jesus Christ, and symbols lifted straight from the Holy Bible.
No less than eight leaded creations were built into the yellow brick walls of this historic building. Above is one of three giant works gracing the north and south exposures. When you enter the large space, the image below is what you will see from the other side.
This scene of Christ as a shepard with his flock is viewable only when you are within ten feet of the north wall, but that doesn’t mean the beauty is lost. From this distance, the detail of Tiffany’s leaded treasure is all the more evident.
This magnificent scene on the south wall once was illuminated by sunlight, but years ago, an addition to the building blocked the exterior light. Today, it is backlit by artificial fixtures. It is no less breathtaking.
I was told that another large window was totally covered when the altar was re-positioned years ago. Today, the Tiffany masterpiece is hidden behind the relocated pipe organ.
In 1911, Shelby Baptist paid the George Hardy Payne Company of Patterson, New Jersey, $ 1,300 for all of the Tiffany stained glass windows. Today, these irreplaceable works of art are priceless, and it’s well worth your time to make the pilgrimage to see them in person.