Tag Archives: antique windows

Foster Hall – An Event in Alabama’s History

If you know us at Southern Accents, you know how much we love a good story. When a story comes along that is attached to a piece of architecture and is documented, it’s story is not only validated in written form but helps in preserving a piece of our history. Such is the case with two windows that we recently acquired that has a semi-circular design that once graced the front of Foster Hall Auditorium on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. If you study Alabama History, then you are familiar with the event that took place at the entrance to Foster Auditorium on June 11, 1963. If not, then a short history lesson is in order. On this date, then Governor George C. Wallace, who opposed integration, stood at the entrance of the auditorium in an attempt to block two black students from registering at the University. Governor Wallace was unsuccessful in his attempt and that same day the first two black students enrolled at the University of Alabama. Two years later, one of the students, Vivian Malone, became the first black to receive a degree from UA. Years later, George Wallace apologized for his segregationist views and in October 1996, Vivian Malone Jones was chosen by the George Wallace Family Foundation to be the first recipient of its Lurleen B. Wallace Award of Courage. At the ceremony, Wallace said, “Vivian Malone Jones was at the center of the fight over states’ rights and conducted herself with grace, strength and, above all, courage.” In 2000, the University of Alabama bestowed on Vivian a doctorate of humane letters.

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The large windows, which can be seen in photos dated at the time of this event, were later removed from the building to make way for a window air conditioning unit. The windows were crated and stored in a storage building on campus. Years later, that storage area, which was shared by faculty member George Hodgson, along with some of the University carpenters, was scheduled for demolition and had to be cleaned out. It was during this process that the crated windows (shown above) were removed by one of the carpenters and placed at the dumpster. George inquired about the windows and was given permission to take them. The windows were moved to his home garage where they sat for years.

In 2009, renovation of Foster Auditorium began. At that time, Mr. Hodgson offered the windows back to the University. The University turned down the offer stating that all of the units were being replaced with newer, maintenance free windows. Not wanting the windows to end up back in the dumpster, George continued to keep them crated and stored in his garage until a few weeks ago when he approached Southern Accents and asked if we would be interested in them. George offered a letter of authenticity that stated how the windows came to be in his possession along with a copy of the email exchange from 2009 offering the windows back to the University.

The Foster Auditorium event, albeit an ugly part of our history, is history none the less. One of the most important aspects of accurately recording historical events is so we can learn from past mistakes. Having written documentation on any historical item not only preserves the provenance of that item, but transforms a story into fact. We gladly accepted the windows and will use these historical architectural elements to serve as a reminder of an event that eventually lead, not to block entrances, but to open doors.

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This photo was taken after 1963 but prior to the renovations of 2009. Air conditioning units can be seen where the arch top windows once were.

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Foster Auditorium after the 2009 renovations which included the addition of the Malone-Hood Plaza and Autherine Lucy Clock Tower. The University of Alabama paid tribute to Autherine Lucy Foster, James Hood and the late Vivian Malone Jones, the three African-American students whose enrollment represented UA’s first steps toward desegregation, at the dedication which was held November 3, 2010.

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The Crimson White newspaper from 2009 highlights the planned renovations of Foster Auditorium. In the photo you can see the air conditioner units that replaced the windows.


Through The “Stained” Looking Glass

Of all the architectural pieces that we salvage, none capture our attention and mesmerize us the way a beautiful piece of stained glass does. Gazing through a multi colored window as the suns rays penetrate the textured glass panes is fascinating. Being makers ourselves, we are awed by the creativity of artists as well as the creative process it takes to produce these works of art. Through the years, we have had many stunning pieces pass through our showroom including this 200 year old window shown below.

This 200 year old stained glass window originated from a church in Wales.

This 200 year old stained glass window originated from a church in Wales.

We love this quote from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” There is a romance between the mediums used in the creation of stained glass. While the fragments of colored glass completely contrast with the copper foil or lead came, they are still dependent on one another… it is the seamless intertwining of the two that creates a stunning work of art.

This jeweled, stained glass window is the most gorgeous piece that we have ever had pass through our showroom.

This jeweled stained glass window is the most gorgeous piece that we have ever had pass through our showroom.

The history of manmade glass dates all the way back to 2625 BC with the discovery of glass Egyptian beads. The earliest surviving example of pictorial stained glass is the 10th century Head of Christ. Fragments were excavated in 1912 from Lorsch Abbey in Germany. In addition to it’s sheer beauty, there is so much rich history surrounding stained glass it is impossible for us not to love it!

This beautiful window is one of 7 that we recently acquired.

This beautiful window is one of 7 that we recently acquired.

We have received several gorgeous pieces of stained glass recently. To view all of our incredible windows and to see more detailed pictures of them, visit our website at www.sa1969.com or stop by our showroom. The stained glass can be found on the Antique Windows page. Our showroom is open Tuesday – Friday from 9am till 5pm and Saturday from 10am till 4pm. Closed Sunday, Monday by appointment only.

Written by: Lisa Jones


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