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Vandalized Danforth Chapel window restored

Portions of the stained glass windows in the Danforth Chapel are pictured on January 23rd. The Danforth Chapel, located on the north side of the Oval, had one of its stained glass windows broken in October. (Forrest Czarnecki | Collegian)

The Danforth Chapel window, broken last October, was restored in late June based off of original sketches.

The window was broken between 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 22 and 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 23, according to SOURCE. The original sketches came from the original artists, in an attempt to keep the artwork as close to the original window, before its destruction.


Only 15 percent of the original window was salvaged, according to SOURCE. The chapel window, titled “The Genesis” was constructed by Robert Harmon, a stained glass artist in the Emil Frei studio, in 1954. The same studio restored the window, a process that cost around $5000. Aaron Frei, the great-great grandson of the founder of the studio, led the project of the restoration of the window.

The window is an art piece that incorporates symbols for air, earth, fire and water, which elements that are found in every faith, according to a Collegian article on the destruction of the window.

Left: The floor-to-ceiling stained glass window depicting “The Genesis.” Right: The damage after Saturday night’s break-in. Photos courtesy of CSU SOURCE.

The Danforth Chapel was built in 1953 by James Hunter, a renowned architect who is one of the best stained glass artists in history, and is located on 701 Oval Drive.

The window has been replicated to the best of the artist’s ability, mimicking the original artist’s design to best replace the window. Over 100 hours of work went into the restoration process and required glassblowers trained in ancient techniques and some pieces were imported to Germany for repair. The art is more modern in design, but contains the traditional glass staining mastery of a less modern time, according to SOURCE.

The Chapel is part of the Fort Collins community, used as a place of worship and for other gatherings.

One group, the Musical Meditation Club, has met at the chapel for four and a half years. The club appreciates the building and has anticipated the replacement of the window, after its destruction.

“It’s disappointing that these people were so angry, and couldn’t get their anger out in a healthy way,” said Ananda Murari-das, a member of the Musical Mediation club. “But honestly, I haven’t noticed any differences in the (new) window. The (Emil Frei) studio did a fantastic job.”

The Chapel is nondenominational, and is open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays. Danforth Chapel has been nominated for a place on the National Historic Register, according to the Collegian. In addition to its historic significance, the chapel has been host to thousands of weddings and other events, according to SOURCE.

The cause of the destruction is still unknown. If anyone has any information about the incident, contact the Colorado State University Police at 970- 491- 6452.


Collegian reporter Julia Trowbridge can be reached at or on Twitter @chapin_jules.

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