Rose Window on Union Station, 39 Jackson Place
Editor’s Note: We thank outgoing BL contributor Connie Zeigler for her prior contributions and are pleased to welcome Raina Regan to our team of contributors. Check out a little more about Raina directly following this article.
Rose Window. A rose window is a large, circular window with symmetrical tracery radiating from the center, often forming the visual effect of a flower. Rose windows are most commonly filled with ornamental stained glass and are placed on the primary façade of the structure. Tracery is a commonly used term to describe the ornamental designed stone mullions of Gothic style windows.
Although rose windows historically date to European Gothic architecture, they gained prominence in the United States through the Gothic Revival style. Mid-19th century Gothic revival churches featured rose windows as notable architectural features, including St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church (126 West Georgia Street) in downtown Indianapolis. St. John’s was completed in the 1860s and features a Rose window on its west face.
Although most commonly employed on churches, the rose window is occasionally found on other monumental public structures, including the iconic Indianapolis Union Station (39 Jackson Place). The rose window on Union Station is found on its north face. Union Station, completed in 1888, features the Richardsonian Romanesque style. The detail in the stained glass windows of this rose window accentuates the geometric details. In the Great Hall of Union Station, the rose window provides daylight to the large, common interior space.