Restored 1920s stained-glass window unveiled at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton

The covering tarp came down, a flock of cell phones came up, and the latest addition to the Muckenthaler Cultural Center was revealed last week – a brilliant stained-glass window portraying the baptism of Jesus.

Originally built for St. Boniface Catholic Church in Anaheim, the window was funded in the 1920s by Lawrence Muckenthaler, brother to Walter Muckenthaler, who founded the Muckenthaler House that would later become the cultural center.

  • CEO Farrell Hirsch speaks with guest of honor Kathy Muckenthaler Riddle during the Muckenthaler Cultural Center’s unveiling of the restored stained glass window donated by the family to St. Boniface Catholic Church in the 1920’s while guests record the moment on their cell phones on Thursday, February 8, 2018. (Photo by Frank D’Amato, Contributing Photographer)

    CEO Farrell Hirsch speaks with guest of honor Kathy Muckenthaler Riddle during the Muckenthaler Cultural Center’s unveiling of the restored stained glass window donated by the family to St. Boniface Catholic Church in the 1920’s while guests record the moment on their cell phones on Thursday, February 8, 2018. (Photo by Frank D’Amato, Contributing Photographer)

  • The restored stained glass window donated by the Muckenthaler family to St. Boniface Catholic Church in the 1920’s, unveiled at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center’s Legacy Night event on Thursday, February 8, 2018. (Photo by Frank D’Amato, Contributing Photographer)

    The restored stained glass window donated by the Muckenthaler family to St. Boniface Catholic Church in the 1920’s, unveiled at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center’s Legacy Night event on Thursday, February 8, 2018. (Photo by Frank D’Amato, Contributing Photographer)

  • Chief Curator Matthew Leslie and Chief Program Officer Adam England unveil the restored stained glass window donated by the Muckenthaler family to St. Boniface Catholic Church in the 1920’s at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center’s Legacy Night event on Thursday, February 8, 2018. (Photo by Frank D’Amato, Contributing Photographer)

    Chief Curator Matthew Leslie and Chief Program Officer Adam England unveil the restored stained glass window donated by the Muckenthaler family to St. Boniface Catholic Church in the 1920’s at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center’s Legacy Night event on Thursday, February 8, 2018. (Photo by Frank D’Amato, Contributing Photographer)

  • St. Boniface Pastor, Rev. Ed Poettgen blesses the restored stained glass window donated by the Muckenthaler family to St. Boniface Catholic Church in the 1920’s at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center’s Legacy Night event on Thursday, February 8, 2018. (Photo by Frank D’Amato, Contributing Photographer)

    St. Boniface Pastor, Rev. Ed Poettgen blesses the restored stained glass window donated by the Muckenthaler family to St. Boniface Catholic Church in the 1920’s at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center’s Legacy Night event on Thursday, February 8, 2018. (Photo by Frank D’Amato, Contributing Photographer)

  • The extended Muckenthaler family together for a photo at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center’s unveiling of the restored stained glass window donated by the family to St. Boniface Catholic Church in the 1920’s on Thursday, February 8, 2018. (Photo by Frank D’Amato, Contributing Photographer)

    The extended Muckenthaler family together for a photo at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center’s unveiling of the restored stained glass window donated by the family to St. Boniface Catholic Church in the 1920’s on Thursday, February 8, 2018. (Photo by Frank D’Amato, Contributing Photographer)

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The church was built in 1902, but without a stained glass window or baptismal fount. Lawrence Muckenthaler donated the funds for both, which oversaw thousands of baptisms until the original church building was razed in 1963. But first, the window was removed.

After the old building was cleared to make way for the modern parish, the window was kept by a private collector. Lawrence Muckenthaler’s son, Ronald, later purchased it.

Ronald Muckenthaler kept the window safe for a generation, but never saw his wish of returning the window to his aunt and uncle’s home fulfilled. St. Boniface holds a special significance for the Muckenthaler family: Walter Muckenthaler first met and later married his wife, Adella, at the church.

Time and years of neglect had taken a toll on the window, and the Muck stepped in to attempt a restoration.

Now, the window will be preserved at the center. The unveiling doubled as a celebration of the window’s rebirth and long awaited return home, with guests from the extended Muckenthaler family crowding around the restored glass to pose for photos.

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