Thursday, June 3, 2010

Old Buffalo church to be Reborn in an Atlanta Suburb

As many of you know, I am from Buffalo and over the years I have seen more and more things in the city close and heard stories of what it had been like there in the '40's when my grandmother was growing up compared to now.  I am unsure of my feelings by the news that people want to take "99-year-old St. Gerard's" out of Buffalo and move it to an Atlanta suburb, where it will become Mary Our Queen in Norcross.

So many Catholic churches have been closing over the past decade in Buffalo (as in all of western and central NY from what I have seen), so it is a nice idea to give the building new life again.  So many of the closed churches are just crumbling to the ground due to the rules the church has put on who can purchase them.  It is so sad to see the lifeless buildings, particularly those people want to purchase but are not allowed to.

The problem, however, is summed up in the following quote by Buffalo Council President David Franczyk, "You can't strip-mine a city's historic heritage."  Can you imagine finding out your ancestor went to this church.  He was baptized, married and buried there, but to see it you have to go to Atlanta?

This is one of those questions that has no easy answer.  Do you let the building stay in Buffalo and rot or give it new life hundreds of miles away.  If you say move it, which is an understandable position, what happens when they want another of our buildings?  Then another and another, going down a slippery slope, until the heritage of a city has all been shipped away, one brick at a time?

Personally, I like the idea of giving the building new life, I just hate that to do so it needs to be moved so far away.  As the citizens of Buffalo continually flock south, to areas with more jobs, lower taxes and less snow, do we really want to see our buildings do the same?  If the church stays in Buffalo will it just rot until it is one more condemned building to deal with?  It is much harder to answer when church is from the city I am from, one that I love and wish to return to someday.  I look forward to your remarks and beliefs on this.

To read the entire article, go here.


  1. This is one of those situations where everyone loses when a city shrinks. Crumbling is bad and disappearing heritage is bad, but both are inevitable when your city and state are shrinking.

  2. Better moved than destroyed I guess. With the financial and political mess that all of New York finds itself in I expect we'll lose a great deal.

  3. I agree with you 100% Apple. Sad, hard choices.


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