Chuck Borsari

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Ohio Magazine - May 1991   

Borsari Stained Glass, Morgan County

Four hundred years ago an Italian named Borsari tried to win the favor of the Duchess of Parma. To rid the earth of peasant effluvia, the duchess liked to have servants sprinkle violet leaves on the ground in front of her as she walked. So Borsari created fragrances for her. He made a name for himself that apparently lived on, because four centuries later Chuck Borsari, grandson of Italian immigrants, continues the tradition – of winning women’s favor, that is.

Ridding the gray light from the Ohio sky Borsari’s windows create color and reflection; and during his dozen years in Morgan County he has replaced the skepticism of the natives (a ponytail, beard and earring are not the typical Morgan County accouterments) with thousands of bevels, prisms and colors.

Today, a tour of Morgan County stained glass is like a tour of the county jewels, and no one likes to lead the way as much as Borsari himself. 744 E. Main St.—Here’s a stunning eyebrow window of brown stained glass with a beveled cluster and Flemish glass.

507 E. Main St.—the antebellum mansion, now The Howard House Restaurant has an arched insignia window in the third story, a handsome, clear beveled window in the front-door transom and several other pieces on the interior.

137 S. Kennebec St.—Dr. William Gables commissioned Borsari to do 19 pieces for his dental operatories. Borsari sat in dental chairs, leaning back to get the proper alignment for patients’ line of vision. Most pieces are 48 ft. long and 6 ft. high. He also did a dental caduceus and, as Dr. Gables is and ardent Buckeye fan, a scarlet and gray OSU piece.

The Opera House Theater 15 W. Main St.—Her Borsari did three windows and a colorful Victorian transom above the front door.

The Barn, Cty. Rd. 4—From McConnelsville take St. Rte.78 west for 5.5 miles. Turn left on Cty. Rd. 40, right on Cty. Rd. 4. Follow all signs that say STAINED GLASS. The Barn is Borsari’s studio, a 1904 English Classic barn perched atop perhaps the mast pastoral setting in all of southeastern Ohio. It took six years to restore, has thirty-nine windows and two floors and is a microcosm of Borsari’s mind, too expansive for self-containment anywhere.

Borsari former newsman, lobbyist and speechwriter, traded his suits for seed catalogues in 1977, swapping the whimsimoving. Borsari personally choreographed the placement of four exterior soffet spotlights with dimmers so that at nightfall wouldn’t inhibit the peacock’s or anyone else’s, dance.

Third & Jefferson—Borsari it can be confirmed, doesn’t miss much. He noticed this house was being renovated, but that the front door was covered with a piece of plywood. One day, he knocked on the front plywood and announced to the owner, "Hi. I’m Chuck Borsari. You need me." The front door now houses a hansom piece of wavy, clear Flemish glass.

Miller-Huck Funeral Home, 72 Seventh St. & Tatman Funeral Home, 164 N. Kennebec St.—Both have Borsari glass. When the famous Morgan County-reared physicist Dr. Roger Rusk was ninety-two, he returned to his home, attended a party at Borsari’s studio on a Sunday, saw the piece Borsari was finishing for Tatman’s and commented on its beauty. On Tuesday, Rusk died. On Friday, he was the first to view, and beviewed, under Borsari’s window.

Chesterhill Methodist Church—There are eight 10-ft. Windows in this tiny village’s church. Borsari has done three of them. All are memorial windows done in six sections. Borsari always speaks at the dedication ceremonies. Ringgold—High on a hill in Union Township sits a private residence once owned by the vice president in charge of an Indiana window manufacturing company. The entire south side of the windows enough to make a stained glass artist weak in the soldering joints. Borsari was commissioned to put stained glass in the third story level. Now surrounding a magnificent stained glass abstract tree are ribs of glass with 60 bevels. When the sun shines through, 240 surfaced cast prisms of light.

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