Installation of restored Capitol Theatre windows under way

WHEELING – After two months of removing layers of paint and restoring a total of 425 pounds of wood and glass, the window project at the Capitol Theatre ballroom is complete.

The installation of the restored windows was performed Friday and Saturday by Belmont College students. The building preservation students were busy Friday morning putting together three large windows they restored during the past two months. The work included removing seven layers of old paint off the wood and hardware, and replacing damaged pieces of wood and damaged glass panes. Most of the original material was able to be salvaged.

The students described the project as a challenge but rewarding because of the building’s historic stature in Wheeling. Student Jacob Fetzer of Noble County said the windows were “falling apart and in shambles” before they started.

“I wish we could do stuff like this in all our classes,” Fetzer said. “It’s cool to come in and do stuff in the community and not just the classroom.”

Mel Cameron of Adena, Ohio, said she and her fellow students put a lot of extra time into the windows outside of the classroom. She noted they started out using paint stripping chemicals but soon realized that method was too expensive and switched to heat guns.

Student Cherryl Thompson of Steubenville, who described herself as a retired tax auditor, said she wanted to take the class to learn something new.

“I’m retired and instead of finding a rocking chair this is what I’m doing,” she said.

Instructor Cathie Senter of Wheeling said the most challenging aspect of the work was the size of the windows. The two narrow windows weigh about 100 pounds apiece, while the larger window, which they described as more like a door because of its hinges, weighs about 225 pounds.

“It was an ambitious project,” Senter said, noting some of the damaged wood was replaced with 100-year-old wood donated by her Edgewood neighbors Chuck and Beth Knight.

Molly Dickerson of Wheeling said doing the hands-on work was a good learning experience.

“It was a lot of hard work but I feel like it paid off now that they’re great looking,” she said. “It was an honor to work on the Capitol Music Hall.”