MEXICO - The sun is shining much more brightly and vividly into Casey’s Cottage nowadays.
The 18 stained glass windows in the vintage historic cottage at Mexico Point State Park have been replaced with new windows done in a Tiffany-glass format and made with gorgeous designs that came out of the artistic minds of Oswego County residents.
Designer artists, ranging in age from a first-grader to senior citizens, from all parts of the county were chosen after a contest to pick just the right designs for the cottage. Seventy designs were submitted and the final selected designs were announced at the Celebration of the Arts event June 9.
The Richard S. Shineman Foundation in Oswego provided a grant of $5,000 for the replacement of the stained glass windows.
Laurie Cardinali Kester, a stained glass artist with a studio in Oswego, said she and others began building the windows in July and were done by September. A special reception was held for the artists and window builders Sept. 15 at Casey’s Cottage.
“I grew up in Oswego County and never saw or knew about Casey’s Cottage,” Kester said. “This place is a little treasure. And to have my work in a public place was a dream come true. I am so thrilled to be a part of it.”
So were others.
“I am so happy,” said Abigail Roberts, a fifth-grader at Mexico Middle School who designed a beautiful, colorful sword window.
“I am so excited about this,” said Gianna Ruggio, an 11th-grader at Oswego High School. “I never expected my design to be chosen.”
According to the Casey’s Cottage website, Casey’s Cottage “is all that remains of Orville Hungerford’s elegant Mexico Point Club House, which was built in 1906. Guests to the manor were met at the train station in Mexico and brought to the Clubhouse by a horse-drawn carriage. The horses were returned to the carriage house.”
When cars became the rage, horses were no longer necessary so that building was no longer needed. “What remained of the carriage house was transformed into a medieval manor house, known as Casey’s Cottage, by two close friends: Dr. William C. Casey and Severin Bischof. Bill Casey provided the means and Severin Bischof provided the designs,” the website states.
The stained glass windows in the cottage had become worn and old. Kester also said they were made of an opalescent glass that did not let in as much light.
The new windows are much brighter and made of cathedral glass, which lets much more light into a room. The window designs had to “reflect designs already in the cottage,” said Diane Chepko-Sade, president of the Friends of Mexico Point Park and also one of the window designers.
The designs feature dragons, Celtic knots, candles and roses, tulips, a knight, grapes and swords.
The window openings were expanded — the one windows were 3 inches to 5 inches wide while all the new ones are 5 inches wide. The lengths go from 22 inches to 32 inches long.
“This is huge — it’s such a special thing,” Chepko-Sade said. “The criteria for the Shineman grant was ‘creating community’ and we really feel we’ve done that.”
The artists whose designs were selected are:
Jack Anzalone, Oswego; Andrew Becker, Fulton; Henry Becker, Fulton; Kathleen Besaw, Oswego; Diane Chepko-Sade, Mexico;
Kassie Clark, Oswego; Mike Clark, Oswego; Arlene Filicia, Pulaski; Karen Ringwald, New Haven; Gloria Carter, Pulaski; Bri Harrington, Oswego; Makenzy Hull, Mexico; Laurie Kester, Oswego; Michael M. McConn Jr., Oswego; Abigail Roberts, Palermo; Gianna Ruggio, Oswego; Carleen Talamo, Mexico and Stanley Webb, Pulaski. Student designers are Hull, Henry and Andrew Becker, McConn, Ruggio, Harrington, Roberts, and Anzalone.
The artists who built the windows are: Cassie Clark, Diane Chepko-Sade, Billie Jo Peterson, Adriana Becker, Kassie Clark and Laurie Cardinali Kester.