In 1898 a large brick building was constructed on Broad Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, in the heart of Story City by S.R. Corneliussen. He operated a general store in this building, believed to be the largest of its kind in Story County at the time.
In 1911, S.R. Corneliussen sold the store to five of his clerks and they named it the “Pioneer Store Co.” Merchandise included groceries, clothing, hardware and housewares. The Pioneer Store was a fixture in downtown Story City for over half a century until the store closed in 1962. A stained glass window, bearing the store’s name, which was originally mounted above an entrance to the building was saved. It was donated to the Story City Historical Society in 2017, by Paul Anderson, who is a descendant of S.R. Corneliussen.
Since 1962/1963 the window had been in Paul’s possession. Originally it was in a wooden frame with many coats of peeling paint. The size of the frame made it difficult to store and move. At some point in the 1960s Paul removed the glass from the frame, removed pieces of glass at 30” intervals, folded the lead, glassless sections, and placed it with the extra pieces in a cardboard box. There it remained for around thirty years as he moved four different times. Then Paul transferred the window from the cardboard box to a more secure wooden box after removing all the lead. It stayed in this specially constructed box until it was donated to the Historical Society.
Our local Story City Questers chapters, Hook & Eye and Praeri Rail Trail, wrote a grant for the window to be restored in 2018. They received a grant for $3,150 from the International Questers Organization. Combined, the local chapters also gave $1,050 towards the project.
Darko Lokmic and his team at The Stained Glass Store in Grimes did a beautiful job with the restoration. They were able to fill in a few missing glass pieces with a very similar textured glass and had enough similar square glass tiles to make a border all the way around. These square glass tiles are called “prism glass” and we had eight original prism glass tiles that were manufactured by the Luxfer Prism Company. Prism glass serves a function by adding horizontal ridged prisms to the backside of the square glass tiles to refract daylight from the facades deep into a building, reducing the need for artificial lighting. In 1897, Frank Lloyd Wright patented a design of prism glass tiles for the Luxfer Prism Company. Our eight prism tiles are Wright designed tiles and have been prominently placed at the four corners and center of the restored Pioneer Store window.
The Historical Society would like to thank everyone involved with this project. Thanks to Paul Anderson for donating the window, building a beautiful wood frame, and installing custom lighting. Thanks to Becky Senti of Praeri Rail Trail and Wanda Holm of Hook & Eye for writing an International Questers Grant for the restoration. And thank you to our volunteers who helped with the installation process. The Pioneer Store window is on display at the Carriage House Museum, please stop by and see this beautiful piece of Story City history in person.