Broken Glass Bob and the stained glass ceiling at La Tourelle

from the Artsology series The Arts Adventurer

On a trip to Ithaca, we stayed in a hotel and spa called La Tourelle. They had a bistro within the hotel, and breakfast was included for overnight guests. Entering the bistro, however, presented one with this bold visual: the expansive stained glass ceiling as you can see below.


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stained glass ceiling at La Tourelle in Ithaca

I don't have much experience with stained glass, but most times I've seen it used for windows, not for dropped ceilings, so this piece was definitely something that grabbed my curiosity. I inquired with the hotel manager Scott Wiggins, who gave me some background information. He said these stained-glass panels were hand-made by a local Ithaca artist who was known as "Broken Glass Bob." His nickname came from his habit of creating his art works from discarded scraps of broken glass. At the time that he made these glass panels in the early 1970s, Bob had studio space in the yellow barn next to La Tourelle, which is pictured below left as it appears now.

(Below right is a detailed view of the stained glass drop ceiling)

the yellow barn next to La Tourelle in Ithaca

detail of Broken Glass Bob's stained glass at La Tourelle in Ithaca

Broken Glass Bob originally designed and installed the stained-glass ceiling panels in the Gazebo Room at the Ramada Inn in downtown Ithaca in 1971, where they remained for 30 years. In 2001, the stained-glass was removed during renovations and inexplicably disappeared. In 2005 it was rediscovered by Wiggins tucked away in a different barn owned by one of his friends. It was shortly after restored by Jake Graziano and installed at the Bistro at La Tourelle in 2006.

Unfortunately, we don't know Broken Glass Bob's real name ... if you're familiar with this artist, please let us know so we can update this page. Here's another look at the stained glass panels.

detail of stained glass ceiling at La Tourelle Inn and Spa in Ithaca