The North Bend Eagle


History shines in St. Charles Borromeo windows

by Stephanie Iwan Flamme
Published 4/19/17

Tucked away in a garage on a farm northwest of North Bend was one of the last remnants of a pioneer church built by Irish immigrants.

Now the stained-glass window from St. Patrick’s Catholic Church of Clyde had been unpacked, dusted off and returned to its former glory as part of an addition to St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in North Bend.

St. Charles windowsThis window, now in St. Charles in North Bend, was originally part of St. Patrick's of Clyde, which closed in 1973.

A few years ago the St. Charles Parish Pastoral Council decided to build an addition on the north side of the church which would include a lift for the injured or disabled. This lift replaced the exterior lift which was located on the south side of the church.

Pat O’Hara heard about the project and had an idea. When St. Patrick’s Church at Clyde closed in 1973, three windows were returned to the O’Hara family. Those stained-glass windows were stored in his garage at home.

“Our family donated the windows to St. Patrick’s originally,” O’Hara said. “When the church closed, items that were donated were given back to the family donors.”

O’Hara’s family of Michael O’Hara and Patrick Brogan were among the Irish pioneers who established the Clyde Catholic church in the 1870s. They built the wood-frame church in 1884 at an estimated cost of $3,000. The Clyde church, located five miles north and three miles west of North Bend, also had an connection to St. Charles which goes back to 1915. When the parishioners of St. Charles in North Bend decided to build their brick church, St. Patrick’s donated the St. Joseph’s side altar which still stands on the south side of the sanctuary.

“My sisters (Linda Harrison and Irene Wemhoff) and I thought that adding the windows to the addition seemed like the best place to put them,” O’Hara said, “They had been sitting in a box that my dad built for them in the garage.”

O’Hara’s father Francis always joked with his family that someday someone would be tearing down the garage and they would find the windows. “My mom (Mildred O’Hara) wanted to prove Dad wrong, so she had one placed in our living room,” O’Hara said.

When they opened the box to look at the windows which had been stored for over 40 years, they were warped, but the glass was in good condition. The shape and the materials used in the Clyde windows closely matched the windows in the main part of St. Charles. Besides donating the windows, the O’Hara family also donated the total cost of their restoration.

These windows were originally donated to St. Patrick’s of Clyde in memory of O’Hara’s maternal great grandfather Patrick Brogan and great-great grandparents by Mrs. Michael O’Hara.


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