Huiia 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 Huiia Church was literally lifted off if
its foundation, causing extensive damage to the buildings structure and
smashing the Churchs 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.
The Queen of Kauai, Deborah Kapule was an early Christian convert and helped
establish the Mission in the 1830s on land provided by Governor Kaikioewa
of Kauai. The historic Mission House was built in 1837 and the adjoining
Mission Hall was finished in 1843, resplendent with its tower belfry and
requisite mission bell. The current church building was constructed on this
site in 1912 and the original Mission House and Mission Hall were fully
restored that same year. The church has enjoyed an uninterrupted succession of
services since 1834, first as a Congregational Church and since 1957 as a
United Church of Christ.
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 Huiia 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 Huiia
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.
We put out a call to our trusted suppliers and opalescent glass manufacturers to
search their hoard of old glass for suitable matches. To our delight, they
successfully located a match for all the replacement glass we needed, except
one. The main background glass for all of the Waioli Huiia Churchs
stained glass windows was a green, amber and white opalescent that was not
currently available. We looked at dozens of color samples from current
production glass and decided to ask Youghiogheny Opalescent Glass Company to
recreate a glass to match the original. Their skilled colorists were able to
achieve a nearly perfect match. However since the density, color and
consistency of opalescent glass actually changes during the course of batch
production, it was the glass three-fourths of the way through the batch that
was selected as the best match.
The restored windows were shipped 4,000 miles back to Kauai and meticulously
reinstalled into the rebuilt Waioli Huiai Church in time for the
Churchs dedication ceremonies in April of 1994. We were thrilled with the
results as was the restoration architect and the churchs congregation. We
have been told that even the most discerning visitor is amazed to learn the
stained glass windows have undergone extensive restoration.