If you have seen the stained glass windows in the Christ Lutheran Church, the First Moravian Church, First Presbyterian Church, Zion Reformed Church, Founders Hall or the Library of York College, Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Chapel, the Haines Shoe House, or the circular dining room of the Hershey Hotel, you have seen the artistry and creativity of J. Horace Rudy, who operated studios on North Hartley Street and then East Philadelphia Street in York from 1905 to 1930. His designs and his glass work grace the windows of countless historic buildings in Pittsburgh, Hershey, York County and other places in Pennsylvania. They are notable for both the use of painted and leaded, stained glass.
Horace was born in Norristown, PA, the second of four sons. His first training was at the Spring Garden Technical Institute in Philadelphia, then in Alfred Goodwin’s glass studio. He studied 2 years at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
In 1893, H.J. Heinz commissioned the Rudy Brothers, who were already known in Central Pennsylvania as glass artists, to make stained glass windows for his factory in Pittsburgh and his home. In 1894, Frank, J. Horace, Jesse and Isaiah Rudy opened a shop in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty Section where they had great success designing and making windows for churches, homes, and mausoleums. That business survived until 1962.
Horace married Mary Elizabeth Emig in 1900 and in 1904 they moved to York to live in her family home at 619 Linden Avenue. He opened the York branch of the Rudy Brothers Leaded and Stained Glass Company at 601 North Hartley Street – now a home that that still has two stained glass windows from that time.
Upcoming Walking Tour
The art glass of J. Horace Rudy will be featured in a walking tour of some of the most historically significant buildings in downtown York on October 17 from noon -5 pm. The tour is sponsored by the Rudy Collective and Historic York, Inc. Tickets for the tour are $15 in advance on Eventbrite or $25 the day of the tour at the Rudy Gallery, 25 East Philadelphia Street.
Sites on the tour include Asbury United Methodist Church, Christ Lutheran Church, Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Chapel, First Presbyterian Church, First St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Trinity United Church of Christ, St Mary’s Immaculate Conception BVM Church, Zion United Church of Christ, York Water Company, and York College of Pennsylvania.
This post was contributed by Historic York, Inc. board of directors president Mary Anne Bacas.