This beautiful 1800s (maybe older) stained glass church panel came from St. Augustine, Florida. It was eventually passed down in the family and found its way to Hillsville, Virginia, where Alex Woolard was taking a road trip and discovered it in the back of a tractor trailer.
Just a thought here: St. Augustine, being the oldest city in America, was founded in 1565. That makes St. Augustine 485 years old today. It is quite possible, as I study the quality of the handmade, mouth-blown glass, the old lead channel (hand poured & drawn), this panel could be more than 250 years old.
It is unfortunate we do not know more of the story, such as what church and how many years did it grace that sanctuary? Did the church burn as so many structures did back then and the panel(s) survived? Did it hang in its church for 100+ years before it became part of the St. Augustine private collection to the Hillsville family for another 50+ years? How many generations ago did the Hillsville, Virginia, family inherit this panel?
What we do know, it is now in the Alex Woodard Collection in North Carolina beginning November 2023 with the possibility for many generations to follow.
Oh, yes, I do think about the history of exceptional stained glass panels that pass through my hands for restoration and giving them more time to be enjoyed by future generations. There is something very special about playing a part in preserving the past and being the caretakers of history. This beautiful panel has a history and the story begins in the oldest city in America.