Great Restoration Stories
Hurricane Iniki

Waioli Hui'ia Church has been designated a National Historic Landmark. It is located in Hanalei, Kaua'i, Hawaii.

Waioli Hui'ia Church sits at the old Mission founded in 1834 on Kauai, in the heart of Hanalei. On September 11, 1992 at 1 a.m., hurricane Iniki swept across Kauai with sustained winds of one hundred sixty miles per hour and wind gusts recorded at two hundred and twenty miles per hour. Hurricane Iniki was a big one by any standards. The Waioli Hui'ia Church was literally lifted off if its foundation, causing extensive damage to the building's structure and smashing the Church's precious stained glass heritage. The proud church had been designated a National Historic Landmark but it is much more than a landmark to the regional community of Hanalei and to all citizens of Hawaii.

In the aftermath of hurricane Iniki the restoration committee appointed Alfonso J. Garza, of Designare Architects in Honolulu, as the restoration architect and Callahan Construction of Hanalei, Hawaii, was awarded the general contract. They conducted a national search for a qualified stained glass studio to restore the heavily damaged windows and recreate the destroyed stained glass. Their search eventually brought them to our studio and after many discussions and consultations we were awarded the contract. It struck me that the geographic contrasts could not be greater. Bovard Studio, surrounded by the cornfields and big blue sky of Iowa, and the Waioli Hui'ia Church sitting at the base of a volcano on one of the most beautiful islands in the world. We were two disparate partners with one noble and unified objective.

In November of 1993 our restoration team arrived at the Waioli Hui'ia Church, to extract the windows. The process begins by first assessing the damage and then photographically recording the current condition of windows, it is important to have accurate site records that often prove invaluable during the restoration. The windows were carefully removed and all previously recovered bits and pieces were located before everything was crated for shipment to our studio back in Iowa.

Four sets of double lancet stained glass windows had to be recreated. Matching historic opalescent stained glass is exponentially more difficult than matching paint color or dye lots. In glass, we not only have to match a unique combination of color mix, but we must match the density and the unique refractory qualities of the light as it passes through the glass.

The restored windows were shipped 4,000 miles back to Kauai and meticulously reinstalled into the rebuilt Waioli Hui'ai Church in time for the Church's dedication ceremonies in April of 1994. We were thrilled with the results as was the restoration architect and the church's congregation. We have been told that even the most discerning visitor is amazed to learn the stained glass windows have undergone extensive restoration.


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