It's a small thing, just some colored glass, more decorative than functional. However, it's a small thing that is an important link to York College's past, says Tim McNeese, associate professor and chair of the department of history.
McNeese's department recently restored a stained glass window that reads "McGehee Library" over the doorway of McGehee Hall. The window was removed from the building in about 1969. It had spent the past 44 years gathering dust in the York College archives.
A brief ceremony to rededicate the window and recognize the history department's involvement will take place in the McGehee courtyard on Saturday, April 6, at 2:20 p.m. All are invited to attend.
Built in 1911, McGehee Hall was originally the campus gymnasium. It was converted to a library in the late1920s. In 1958, a neoclassical facade was added and it was renamed McGehee Library in honor of Kathleen McGehee, then the librarian of York College.
It was probably at that time that the beautiful window was installed.
In 1969, Levitt Library was built and McGehee was eventually converted to classroom space.
It is uncertain why the stained glass window was removed from McGehee, though two theories have emerged. Wylene Baker, emeritus faculty member who was working in the library in 1969, suggests that it might have been broken by an errant snowball. Since the building was no longer the library at that time, the window was perhaps removed rather than repaired.
Baker also suggested that it may have been removed simply because the new library didn't have a sign for several years and perhaps a window that identified the older building as "McGehee Library" would have been confusing to campus visitors.
When McNeese learned of the old window in the archives several years ago, he was interested in restoring the damaged art for the sake of history and aesthetics.
"There is nothing in that building today that would indicate that it was ever a library," McNeese said. "The opening was still there for the window. It seemed a shame not to have it there."
McNeese says it is gratifying to see a piece of York College's history restored. The window, though an insignificant thing, is a connection to the past, a touchstone to years gone by.
Also, on a campus where aesthetics isn't usually the primary concern, McNeese says he wanted to restore the window simply for the sake of art.
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