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News Coverage of Vitrolite and Tim Dunn

Vitrolite in the Headlines

Hoover Dam is latest job for St. Louis' Vitrolite Man
Tim Dunn restores the Vitrolite walls of the Hoover Dam's restrooms

Glimmers of History
Exterior of Bert's downtown drugstore back in high shine (Hastings, NE)

Early Vitrolite Corner Signs are Bringing New Collectors
Check out this article on Vitrolite from the September 2, 2013 issue of Antique Week featuring Vitrolite Specialist's Tim Dunn.

Coastland Apartments
The Vitrolite Specialist restores the bathrooms of this apartment building on the south side of Chicago.

Vitrolite Man Visits Ottawa
Tim Dunn restores the facade of a building on West Madison street in Ottawa, Illinois.

Owner Keeps Vintage Look for Local Building
Tim Dunn and crew restore the Vitrolite paneling on the Stumpp Building in downtown Mt. Vernon, IL.

Grand Theatre
Tim and Hank install a Vitrolite facade on the Grand Theatre in Grand Island. This is the largest Vitrolite installation since the 1950s!

Charleston Diner
Tim restores the Vitrolite facade of the Quarrier Diner in Charleston, West Virginia.

St. Louis Bathroom
Tim reinstalls a customer's Vitrolite in their newly renovated bathroom.

Apollo Theatre
The glass facade of this Oberlin theater is restored by Vitrolite Specialist.

Chicago Home
Tim Dunn restores the Vitrolite around a fireplace in Sherry Wiesman's Chicago home.

Alhambra Theater
Vitrolite replaced in the vestibule of the Alhambra Theater in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

Maplewood Home
Tim Dunn installs Vitrolite in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room of a home in Maplewood, Missouri.

Hamilton's Storefront
Tim Dunn repairs damage to 80-Year-Old Black Glass on Storefront of Hamilton's in Brownwood, Texas.

Artcraft Theatre
The Artcraft Theatre in Franklin, Indiana was restored with various Vitrolite techniques by Tim Dunn.

The Future Antiques
South Saint Louis storefront remodeled with Vitrolite.

New Use for an Old Tile
Tim Dunn restores a home in Ladue, MO.

Pieces of the Past
Tim Dunn restores storefronts in Palestine, TX.

Makeover Aims to Light up Downtown
Tim Dunn restores the Zoe Theater in Pittsfield, IL.

A GLASS BY ITSELF
Vitrolite finds itself once again in demand – an article from the Kansas City Star.

Rivoli Theatre
Tim Dunn in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, restoring the Vitrolite on the Rivoli Theatre.

Glass Rejuvenated at Former Gibson Building
Tim Dunn in Appleton, Wisconsin, working on the former Gibson building.

Vitrolite Needed for Deco Theater Refurb
Vitrolite restoration of the Augusta Historic Theatre.

Visiting Specialist Fixes Old-Style Glass
Tim in Mt. Vernon, Il.

Vitrolite: Glass and class of the past Art glass of yesteryear offers a beautiful choice....

The Oman of Vitrolite All about Tim Dunn's work with pigmented structural glass from the Old House Web....

A Modern-Day Vitrolite Mine by Edelene Wood West Virginia's Parkersburg-Vienna area was a well-known source of world famous Vitrolite glass manufacturers in the decades of 1907-1937....

Vitrolite Man Vitrolite, that opaque glass tile common in fine St. Louis ....

Gala at Gem Theatre Marks Cultural Renaissance The Gem's red and gold marquee, standing tough in defiance of decades of decay, was alive again...

Ritz Theater Director Travels West to Gather Ideas for Talladega Antique Talladega Executive Director George Culver has just returned from a four-week, 5,600-mile driving tour....

Luck Helps Man Find Microniche If you'd ask Tim Dunn to fill out a survey stating his profession, he'd have a problem.  You see, what Dunn does lies outside the box....

Tim Dunn and Vitrolite: Each One of a Kind During the 1920's through the 1940's Vitrolite was used on the exterior of many buildings, especially theaters, as well as....

Visitor to Help Salvage State Theatre Glass During the 1920's through the 1940's Vitrolite was used on the exterior of many buildings, especially theaters, as well as....

Owner Keeps Vintage Look for Local Building

by Derek Beigh
Mt. Vernon Register-News
July 2, 2011
Click here to read the story at register-news.com


Harry Clark and Steven Farkenberg polish the vitrolite glass on the face of the former Stumpp building at 10th and Broadway. Kent Renshaw, the owner of the building, plans to have 50 of the 80 vitrolite pieces on the building replaced.

MT. VERNON — When Kent Renshaw selected Tim Dunn and his crew out of St. Louis to replace and refurbish the vitrolite paneling of the former Stumpp Building downtown, he knew he was getting the best in the business.

Dunn’s company, Vitrolite Specialist, is not just the leading but the only American source and installer of vitrolite, a vintage stained glass featured in many depression-era structures that hasn’t been manufactured in the United States since 1947.

That dearth has allowed Dunn to become the gatekeeper for the substance: His 20-ton supply is the result of years of replacement and rehabilitation jobs at structures nationwide including the Artcraft Theater in Franklin, Ind., Alhambra Theater in Hopkinsville, Ky. and 9th Street Grill in Mt. Vernon since he learned the trade in the 1980s.

Dunn said his business has grown in that time because building owners increasingly prefer vitrolite to modern materials for the sense of nostalgia it evokes.

“There are a lot of people who like the look,” he said. “In the 1930s Libbey Owens Ford, who manufactured vitrolite, held a ‘Modernize Main Street’ contest, and you had to use vitrolite to be eligible; that’s made it an appealing classical storefront. It stands out.”

To Renshaw, using vitrolite to maintain the look of the building at 10th and Broadway as it was constructed is a natural fit for Mt. Vernon’s historic downtown TIF district.

“I wanted to maintain that vintage look,” he said. “A lot of people go in and try to make things look old. So why not just maintain the original?”

The vitrolite servicing — 50 of the about 80 pieces on the building’s five storefronts will be replaced, and the rest will be cleaned and resurfaced — is a small portion of the overall renovation planned for the structure, which will take place over the next several years and be partially TIF-funded. Current construction, including window replacement and patching the leaky roof but not the vitrolite or overhaul of the interior, will be 50% reimbursed by TIF funds.

“Without those funds we wouldn’t be able to do it because it’s so cost-intensive,” Renshaw said. “Cyndy Mitchell and the TIF Board have been wonderful to work with. We’ll probably continue to apply, as more funds become available, to make the building look better and better. It’ll be a lengthy process.”

The work so far is the result of the long history Renshaw has with the property: In 1998 he purchased a small portion of the block and renovated it into the Renshaw & Associates Law Firm, then in September of last year decided to buy the rest and restore it. The first phase, the roof and vitrolite, will be complete around mid-July.

While Renshaw doesn’t know precisely what the building will be eventually used for — he said the upper floors could be apartments and the lower levels small businesses — bringing the structure back to downtown the way it once was is important enough to merit the hard work.

“I’ve always supported the development of downtown and making it viable again,” Renshaw said. “We can’t just let these things disintegrate before our eyes.”