Saturday, November 2, 2013

Solid Light

This is one in a series of stories about the mansion at 801 Flynn in Alva, Oklahoma, built in 1906.  For a list of previous posts, look to the right side of this page in October 2013.  If you want to read them in order, the first post in the series is called "Home is Where Your Stuff Is."  Then work your way upwards on the list.

Earlier in this blog, I showed you some pictures I took of the fantastic antique oak inside the Crowell House in Alva, Oklahoma, built in 1906.  If you read that post, you probably couldn't help noticing that the house has outstanding leaded glass features as well. 

Some of my strongest childhood memories of the house at 801 Flynn are of the glass windows surrounding the front door and The Chandelier in the dining room.  (I'm going to capitalize Chandelier here, because this one has a personality all its own.)  I think they are made of what's called lead glass or leaded glass -- beveled, etched and full of rainbows in the sunlight.

You notice the windows when you approach the house.  They frame the front door with a period motif.

But you don't fully appreciate the windows until you step inside and turn back to look at them.  They are tiny masterpieces of design, of solid light.

Walking past the entry hall, you come to the dining room and The Chandelier.  The original owner of the house, businessman George Crowell, imported it from Europe at great expense.  I could easily imagine the Crowell family entertaining dinner guests in what one of their contemporaries described as their "pleasant and hospitable home," with The Chandelier providing the ambiance as part of the entertainment.

The Chandelier in 1970

When I visited the house last week, I was pleased and relieved to see that The Chandelier was still shedding light on the room.

The Chandelier in 2013

The Chandelier is wearing its party clothes for the coming holidays.
My grandmother thought The Chandelier was Italian, but it could have been imported from somewhere else in Europe and hung in place by the Italian craftsman Mr. Crowell is said to have brought in to supervise the installation of the leaded glass in the house.  Regardless of The Chandelier's origins, the results are  spectacular.

The Chandelier reflects the light of its smaller neighbors above the fireplace

The old house contains one more old bit of antique glass, but it's hidden from public view.  I'll tell you about it next time.

To be continued....

Here is a link to information on various kinds of antique glass:

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has resources on old windows, including a report that concludes it's better to keep and retrofit old windows than replace them, in an old house:


This story is one in a series on the historic red brick house at 801 Flynn in Alva, Oklahoma.  This Prairie-style mansion was built in 1906 by local businessman George W. Crowell. 

My grandmother bought it from his heirs in 1968, and lived there for several years. 

The house has changed hands several times since then; it’s now The Vintage Inn, a bed-and-breakfast.  

I went back to visit in October 2013.   All the blog posts I wrote on the visit are collected here:

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