CENTERVILLE — During last year’s renovations in the Appanoose County Historical and Coal Mining Museum, the staff discovered a treasure they weren’t aware they possessed – a set of beautiful, beveled, leaded glass windows.
Technically, they would be referred to as sidelights – long, narrow windows that flank each side of a front entryway. The windows were stored on top of a dust-covered, makeshift bookcase which had been there for many years. It actually dated back to the building’s post office years and was behind the wall where people would slide their letters in the slot.
Once the Historical Society acquired the building, the bins were used for storing a large set of Civil War roster books. When the renovations were in full swing, the bins were removed to make room for filing cabinets, and the windows were discovered. They were stored on two long two-by-fours covered with a piece of cardboard to keep the windows supported.
Volunteers gingerly pulled them down and placed them onto one of the long display cases to look them over. It was first thought they were stained glass, but they were so dirty, it was hard to tell. After a bit of clean up, it was evident that the windows were beveled, clear glass, with leading that was breaking down. Any attempt to stand them upright would have resulted in disaster. The significance of the windows wasn’t known.
Curator Lisa Eddy made a call to long-time Historical Society board member Leon Kauzlarich to find out more about them. He is responsible for much of the original set up of the Post Office museum and his volunteer efforts in creating the coal mining museum are still apparent today. Many of the exhibits were handmade by him and are viewed by many as folk art pieces now. The life-size mine pony is only one example of his artistic talent. He has been honored with a Governor’s Award for Volunteerism.