Monday, April 15, 2013

The Satterlee Window
During my research of J.P. Morgan's 1910 purchase of Great Head and Sand Beach on Mount Desert Island, ME for his daughter Louisa Morgan Satterlee, I learned there was a Tiffany stained glass window depicting Great Head above the altar of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Innocents .*1

Church of the Holy Innocents

Holy Innocents is located in Highland Falls, NY. Church construction started in 1842. Robert Walter Weir, an artist of the Hudson River School and a 42-year professor of art at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, provided the design and financing.*2
Among its parishioners were the Morgan, Satterlee and Tracy families. [Recap: J.P. Morgan married Frances Tracy; their daughter Louisa married Herbert Satterlee.] Morgan had bought a nearby summer home, "Cragston," overlooking the Hudson River, in 1871. He served the church as a vestryman and warden and provided financial support, including the building of a new rectory in 1897.
Window in Chancel
The Louis Comfort Tiffany-signed window, entitled "Creation," was installed in the church's chancel in 1922. It was the gift of Louisa in memory of her father. It states the opening to the Benedicite hymn of praise: "O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise him and magnify him forever." It depicts massive Great Head and the sun rising above the ocean's horizon.
Closeup of Window
After a request to President Roosevelt by Interior Secretary Ickes to promote the national parks during National Parks Year, the U.S. Government issued a 7-cent "Acadia" stamp in October 1934. It featured the Great Head promontory and mirrored Holy Innocents' window.
The scene from which the stamp was produced was taken from a coastal ledge just west of Great Head, as shown in the March 2013 photograph below.*3
Great Head
Louisa and Herbert Satterlee's daughter, Eleanor, donated the Great Head and Sand Beach estate to Acadia National Park in 1949. A memorial, attesting to this, is at the top of the parking lot steps to Sand Beach.*4
Postscript: Tiffany stained glass windows can be seen on Mount Desert Island in Bar Harbor's St. Saviour's Church (10 windows) and Hulls Cove's Church of Our Father (1 window).

1 Regarding the Morgan purchase, see my February 5, 2013 blog post "Great Head, Sand Beach and J. P. Morgan."

2 It was artists from the Hudson River School, like Frederic Church and Thomas Cole, whose landscapes of Mount Desert Island in the mid 1800s inspired influential people to visit, reside and ultimately establish Acadia National Park.
3 GPS location from which the Great Head scene was taken: N44° 19.616'  W068° 10.514'

4 GPS location of memorial at Sand Beach steps: N44° 19.765'  W068° 11.028'



  1. Someone must be asleep in Ireland so I get the first comment. Don, the picture of the window is outstanding!

    Great hike today as well. With you along it is never boring.

    it's a shame what happened in my home town today. Let's hope that Don and Jean are OK.

  2. Trying this one last time...

    I'm sure you already know this, but J.P. Morgan's father in law, Charles Tracy, and a large group of friends and acquaintances made an eventful trip to Mount Desert Island in 1855 and kept a travel diary that was more recently published as "The Tracy Log Book." One member of their party was young artist Frederick Church, who seems to have been taken with Tracy's pretty daughter, Francis, who would later marry the widowed J.P. Morgan.

    When I visited Church's house, "Olana," nobody there seemed to know if the artist and Pierpont Morgan ever had any sort of friendly relationship, but they had a lot in common, so I've always been curious. Both the Church and Morgan families started out in Hartford, CT. Morgan's Grandfather was part owner of the Aetna Fire Insurance Company as was Church's. One of Church's longtime friends from Hartford was William Henry Osborn, who made his fortune as president of the Illinois Central Railroad. Evidently Church advised Osborn on the siting of his country house, "Castle Rock," in Garrison, NY. "Castle Rock" is directly across the Hudson River from Morgan's "Cragston" estate, and Morgan's first wife, Amelia Sturges, was Osborn's sister-in-law and another Hartford native. It just seems odd to me to think that the two wouldn't have known each other socially. But I've found no real evidence, so who knows?

    Anywho, interesting post!