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Stickley in the Community: Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Stickley has shared close ties with Central New York since its founding in 1900, and when Alfred and Aminy Audi purchased the company in 1974 and relocated to Fayetteville, they dedicated themselves to strengthening those community ties. Since then, community involvement has been a priority and a source of pride for Stickley and its employees. In our recurring series “Stickley in the Community,” we’ll share some of our favorite examples, beginning with Stickley’s role in the restoration of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Syracuse.

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Cathedral furnishings built by Stickley

A massive project of repairs and refurbishment, the $11.5 million restoration of the Cathedral started in early 2016 and was completed the following summer. In addition to necessary structural work and technical updates, new sanctuary furnishings were built by Stickley, including a new “ambo” or lectern, a cantor’s stand, presider’s chairs, deacon’s chairs, and most importantly, the “cathedra” or bishop’s chair.

Designs were a collaboration between McPherson, Simmons Bros. & Sons of New Jersey and Stickley Engineering Manager Jim Rider, Jr., who together created a look that combined Mission construction with the cathedral’s historic Victorian Gothic style. The pieces were engineered and built by a team of Stickley craftspeople (with principal building by Shawn Gillis and Dung Tran) using the materials and time-honored techniques that are hallmarks of the brand.

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Stickley’s cathedral team: Almija Sulejmanovic, Eric Hamilton, Skender Imeri,
Brian Marsh, Dung Tran, Murray Leduc, Mark Bower, Shawn Gillis, Eileen Haley, Jim Rider, Jr., Aleu Tong D

Solid, quartersawn American white oak was carefully shaped then assembled with mortise-and-tenon joinery. Quadrilinear posts ensured that the dynamic ray-flake grain was visible from every angle. Decorative motifs were precisely carved, and ceramic tiles representing the four Evangelists—made by the historic Arts and Crafts potter Moravian Pottery and Tile Works—were set into the faces of the lectern and cantor’s stand. For the cathedra itself, a wood-inlay coat of arms of then-Bishop Robert J. Cunningham was created and installed by Stickley artisans.

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Prepared tenon
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Quadralinear post
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Tile installation

At the completion of the project, the Cathedral was rededicated on September 8, 2017 in a mass presided over by the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy J. Dolan. During his homily, the Cardinal remarked that the new cathedra “is a lot more comfortable than the marble one in St. Patrick’s, Bishop!” In attendance were CEO Aminy Audi and President Edward Audi, who had earlier presented the cathedra as a gift from their family and Stickley.

Two years later, a new bishop for the Diocese of Syracuse was appointed, and Stickley once again made its contribution. A new coat of arms for Bishop Douglas S. Lucia, featuring mother-of-pearl inlay and a variety of wood species, was created. Cabinetmaker Dung Tran completed the assembly and installation of the new crest into the cathedra in August of 2019.

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A new coat of arms for Bishop Lucia

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Bishop Lucia and Dung Tran at the Stickley factory

Today, a miniature of the cathedra sits proudly in Aminy Audi’s office as a reminder of this historic collaboration. The real bishop’s chair and all the Stickley-built furnishings can be seen surrounding the altar at the Cathedral, where they are in daily use, and where Stickley’s commitment to its community can be noted by every visitor.

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Bishop’s chair

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Cantor’s stand

Additional sources:

Mrs. Aminy Audi, CEO and Chair of the Board

Long, Katherine. “Cathedral joyfully rededicated following restoration.” The Catholic Sun, September 8, 2017. https://thecatholicsun.com/cathedral-joyfully-rededicated-following-restoration/

Long, Katherine. “Reverencing the past, preparing for the future.” The Catholic Sun, September 5, 2017. https://thecatholicsun.com/reverencing-the-past-preparing-for-the-future/

“The Rite of Rededication.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoGKO-WQNkM



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Get a sneak peek of the full catalog!
Follow this link to download a digital copy of the Martine Collection catalog, then visit your nearest authorized Stickley dealer to see these beautiful pieces in person.

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Expanded Summer Hours at the Museum

We’re excited to announce the addition of Friday hours at The Stickley Museum for the summer! From May 1 through October 1, the museum will be open for self-guided tours on Tuesdays from 9:00 to 5:00, on Fridays from 10:00 to 5:00, and on Saturdays from 10:00 to 5:00. Call 315.682.5500 or email history@stickley.com to book your visit, or simply drop in! The museum is free and is fully accessible.

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Whitehall Three-Drawer Nightstand

Solid cherry has been celebrated at Stickley since long before Martine, including in Leopold’s renowned Cherry Valley Collection and the Audi’s introduction of Mission Cherry in 1991. A classic still in our line is Whitehall, a gorgeous bow-front bedroom group available in Cherry or Mahogany. Here, the Three-Drawer Nightstand wears its flowing cherry grain beautifully.

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