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Rudy stained glass windows admired throughout the Northeast

Photo from the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation newsletter
Photo from the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation newsletter

We have been hearing a lot lately about J. Horace Rudy (1870-1940) and the wonderful stained glass windows his company created for many local homes and churches. Jim McClure has done numerous Rudy posts for his Yorktown Square blog. Historic York Inc. and Rudy Collective are offering a tour of some of those local sites next Saturday, October 17.

Before Rudy came to York, he was one of the partners, with his four brothers, in the highly successful Rudy Brothers stained and leaded glass company in Pittsburgh. He continued as a partner in the Pittsburgh company after making his home in York.

To emphasize the high standing Rudy had outside this area, in an upcoming York Sunday News column I will be looking at a few of his known commissions in other regions, as well as sharing information about some of the other extremely successful artists that trained at the Rudy Pittsburgh company. Rudy creations are mostly unsigned, and existing records of the company are miniscule, so we will never know how many of those wonderful windows throughout the northeast were designed and created in the Rudy shops.

Right now, I want to share the home Rudy built, and embellished with glass he designed, in the Highland Park area of Pittsburgh for himself and his new wife, the former Marion Emig of York County. The home has been restored and is often featured, as have many other Rudy works, on organized tours in Pittsburgh. According to an article by Albert M. Tannler, the 11-room brick and half-timbered stucco house was erected by contractor Samuel Feltyberger in 1901. If it was architect designed, that information has not been uncovered. I see a resemblance to some of Dempwolf designed homes, but then that was one of the popular home models of the time.

Photo from Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation newsletter
Photo from Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation newsletter

Tannler shares that the interior of the house had many Arts & Crafts features, including a fireplace inglenook and oak paneling, along with the extensive use of art glass. He mentions a 3,200 piece glass mosaic fireplace as well as windows, one with a tree of life motif, and the three dining room windows with curving Art Nouveau flowers. If you move around the corner on this Google maps street view link, you can see the row of dining room windows. It sounds and looks like a wonderful house, but the couple moved to York in 1905, making their home on Linden Avenue and establishing the Rudy Glass Company here too.

This Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story, picked up in Monday’s York Daily Record, on a restored Pittsburgh home with stained glass caught my attention. I wondered at first if it could be the Rudy house, but the featured residence is on South Pacific Avenue, while the former Rudy home is on Sheridan Avenue, a couple of miles away.

The glass in the Pacific Avenue house might well be Rudy glass. As Tannler says, “Horace Rudy’s house might be seen as a lived-in art glass showroom demonstrating the range of designs available; his extraordinary dining room windows appear, with variations, in other Highland Park homes, as doubtless do other designs in the Rudy house.”