Recently several historic churches in Seattle’s University District have announced that they will be demolishing their buildings to make way for mixed-use high rises. A couple of years ago I acted as an expert commentator on a Historic Seattle walking tour of the stained glass of University District churches. Two of the three being demolished were included on that tour (University Temple UMC and University Christian Church) and I’ve done work in the other (University Lutheran). While it’s clear that soaring property values, aggressive rezoning measures, and dwindling congregations unable to pay for upkeep of aging buildings is a clear path to demolition, one has to wonder if there are any possible adaptive reuse options or other organizations that could make use of these beautiful spaces without feeling the need to completely tear them down. It may not be appropriate in one of the richest cities in country, but here is an article on how one group managed to save a historic church and find a new life for it.
Here's an article on the future of Seattle's Pioneer Square prism glass. Interestingly, they weren't originally purple but have turned that color due to the manganese in the glass interacting with ultraviolet light. This is very common in windows from the 1800's and early 1900's. Selenium replaced manganese as the preferred clarifying agent in American made glass around 1915, but it wasn't immediately apparent that the glass would age differently.
Here's a great post from the National Trust for Historic Preservation listing many reasons why retrofitting historic windows to improve their energy efficiency can be as good or better than replacement windows. Besides preserving the look and feel of your house, not contributing to landfills, and being a better return on investment, the bonus reason at the end is central to the whole point as far as I am concerned...
There are several options ranging from simple weather stripping, traditional exterior storm windows, insulating cellular window shades, interior insulating panels, temporary cling film, and combinations of these that can greatly improve your window's efficiency and maintain the traditional appearance of the building.