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Sullivan art windows return home

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Michael Hjelmeland, president-elect of the Sullivan Building Foundation, unveils one of three original art glass windows for the Louis H. Sullivan building. After 30 years, three of the windows have been returned to Algona as part of the restoration of the historic building.

ALGONA — It has been a long time coming, but three of the original art glass windows from the Louis Sullivan building have been returned to Algona.

The Louis H. Sullivan Building, also called the Henry Adams building, was built in 1913 and originally housed Druggists Mutual (now known as Pharmacists Mutual) until 1971.

The building today is home to the Algona Area Chamber of Commerce and is one of nine distinctive “Jewel Box” banks built by the famous architect.

The jewel box style features simple geometry with extravagant detail in windows and terra cotta. The Algona building was designed with 12 art glass windows.

“The windows were originally sold from the building in 1985,” said Scott Buchanan, member of the Sullivan Building Foundation.

After nearly 30 years, on Thursday, March 14, history returned as a truck from Chicago stopped at Hjelmeland Builders to drop off a parcel from the curators who have been holding the art windows.

The curators who had the stained glass windows did work repairing 12 of the windows. Three of the windows will be going to a facility in New York, and an additional nine of the windows will be returned to the Sullivan Jewel Box Building in Algona.

“It is amazing to see these windows returned to Algona,” said Michael Hjelmeland, president-elect of the Sullivan Building Foundation.

Sullivan is sometimes referred to as the father of the modern architectural style whose organic designs and clean lines heavily influenced his student, Frank Lloyd Wright.


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