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Historic stained glass art comes home

One of the most striking pieces of art ever inspired by Yates County has been restored to prominence in the heart of the county seat. A restored, six-panel, stained glass mural, depicting some of the most iconic architecture and scenes of Yates County’s history, was unveiled at Bank of the Finger Lakes in the atrium of the Village Centre at 100 Main St. in Penn Yan.

The piece was created for the Columbia Bank in 1979 by James O’Hara of Pike Stained Glass Studios in Rochester. Originally displayed behind the teller desk in the modernist, glass-walled, round Columbia Bank branch on the corner of Elm and Liberty streets, the historic mural was a brilliant contrast to the sleek lines of the building’s style.

Sadly, that impressive building was demolished in 1995. Sadder still, no special effort was made to preserve the glass panels. According to longtime Columbia Bank employee Renchen Greiner (formerly Falvey), the panels were found outside amongst the debris by the late Mike Linehan, who was President of the Chamber of Commerce. Linehan took them to the chamber office and stored them in the basement where they remained, in a dark corner for over 20 years, but not completely forgotten.

Mike Briggs, president of Bank of the Finger Lakes, says in 1997 he and Linehan had discussed displaying the panels at the Bath National Bank that was under construction at what is now the Town of Milo office on Main Street.

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