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Our Roots

          The Story of Rochester Stained Glass


After returning from four years studying leaded glass design, construction and painting in Italy and Holland, Mike and Stephanie Podulke opened The Stained Glass Cellar, a small stained glass studio in Minneapolis.  A chance trip to Rochester, Minnesota in 1976 inspired them to move there, with their two daughters, to what was then a small city. After careful research they purchased a house at the intersection of 11th Ave. NW and West Center Street built by George Washington Root in the early 1900s.  The Rochester Stained Glass studio, is next door, at 1109 West Center St, and was originally a small neighborhood grocery store.

It was a good move; Rochester Stained Glass has been in business for nearly 50 years, providing churches, restaurants, and homes with stained glass windows. The city of Rochester, home to the Mayo Clinic, has grown in the meantime to over 120,000 people.

Rochester Stained glass studio has won several awards, including the Mayor’s Legacy Award for the 33 feet x 8 feet 9/11 Memorial window currently installed in the Mayo Civic Center. Other major installations include St. Marys’ Hospital, The Charter House, Rochester Methodist Hospital, Calvary Episcopal Church, Christ the King Catholic church, Peace United Church of Christ, and the River Park Room at Macken Funeral Home.

Mike died in 2011, and Stephanie continues to design and make stained glass windows with her son-in-law, Darin Podulke-Smith, and her husband, Jim Frost. Darin plans to continue the business at the same location once Stephanie and Jim retire.

As well as church, restaurants, and public venues, Rochester Stained Glass makes and installs stained glass panels for cabinet doors, side-lights, transoms and home entry ways. They also provide custom-made light boxes and  wood frames for free-hanging panels.

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