The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County, N.Y. - Part I, pages 137 - 141

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built it while a deacon, and after his ordination as a priest had preached there every Sunday, after his duties at the cathedral were over. The beautiful marble plate of the high altar was a present from Bishop Timon, with which he surprised his deacon at its dedication. Later on the Fathers of the Society of Jesus served at the Chapel alternately with the secular priests. From 1877 to 1885 the Right Reverends Hofschneider, Keck, Scheffels, and Phillips governed the church. In 1886 the Right Reverend Cl. Niemann was appointed pastor. Under him the new church was built, the corner-stone being laid on June 19th, 1887, followed by its dedication in the fall of the same year. The present pastor of the church is the Right Reverend W.J. Grill.

The Church of the Seven Dolors

The occasion for the founding of this congregation was the old cemetery of St. Mary's Church on North and Johnson Streets, which at that time lay outside of the city boundries. According to a time-honored custom, the pious members of St. Mary's Church wandered out to the cemetery on Sunday afternoon to visit the graves of their beloved dead. Soon several saloons had sprung up in the vicinity of the cemetery, to which a church would have been a welcome neighbor. Several milk dealers also settled there, for whom the distance to St. Mary's Church proved too great. But the new church was not finally located at the cemetery, but at the corner of Genesee and Rich Streets.

On June 2, 1872, Bishop S.V. Ryan laid the corner-stone of the new church, a two-story brick building; the first story of which was designed to do duty as a school, and the second as the church. N. Gundeloch was the first pastor. He was succeeded

Caption under picture at center reads Rt. Rev. Stephen Vincent Ryan, D.D., C.M.
Subtext under picture reads Bishop Ryan was initiated Nov. 8, 1868 and Died April 19, 1896

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by Th. Voss and Chr. Wagner; the former of whom built the dwelling for the sisters, who taught in the school, and the latter the rectory.

The school and the church were opened on the same day, October 20th, 1872. The young congregation consisted of a few poor families, almost all only recently immigrated from the diocese of Regensburg, and during the unprosperous years following the founding were able only with difficulty to maintain their church. On December 11, 1880, Bishop Ryan appointed Dr. A. Kester pastor. [1] As business prospects improved the congregation recovered, and year by year grew so fast that in 1884 it became necessary to build a addition in order to gain more space for school and church.

On June 19th, 1887, the corner-stone of the new church was laid, which was opened for services in the Fall of 1891. The Church is one of the largest in the city, and without the gallery has a seating capacity of 1500 persons, It is a massive edifice, built of Buffalo limestone. The cost of its erection exceeded $100,000. The parochial school is under the "Laity" of the Franciscan sisters, and a teacher from the school leads the church choir.

The Heart of Jesus Congregation

This congregation was founded in 1873 by the Right Reverend Chr. Wagner. The building lot on Seneca Street was swampy and surrounded by railroads, a fact, which very greatly impeded the growth of the church, as parents were loth to allow their children daily to cross the railroad tracks. At first, services were held in a temporary church, a frail wooden structure which was later used as a school house. On June 13th, 1875, the corner-stone of the present church was laid. The cost of the building was nearly $40,000.

When the foundation wall of the new church was completed, the Right Reverend Th. Voss, at that time pastor of the Church of the Seven Dolors, took charge of the congregation, and on him devolved the task of completing the construction under very difficult circumstances, which was finally effected in 1876.

In 1877 Matthias Gessner became pastor, and served until 1884. He built the schoolhouse, and decreased the debt by more than half. In 1884 the Right Reverend W. Risjewski was appointed rector of the rapidly growing congregation. His successor was the Right Reverend Geo. Weber, the present rector.

The St. Franciscus Old Folks' Home

On December 18, 1861, Sister Francesca, of the Holy Franciscus, came to Buffalo from Philadelphia, where the Order had been founded, and of these three sisters appointed M. Margarita

Caption under picture at left center reads St. Francis' Home for the Aged


[1]The German text reads "On December 11, 1880 Bishop Ryan appointed Dr. A. Heiter pastor." Return to text

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as Superior. The latter rented a dwelling on Pine Street, near St. Mary's Church. Her whole capital consisted of 75 cents, out of which she paid the cartment who saw to her baggage 50 cents. As in Philadelphia, these sisters earned their living by embroidery and nursing.

During the following year Mother Margarita bought two lots on Pine Street, and erected a wooden building, which was to serve as a cloister, and also offer a home to aged people. On October 10, 1862, the sisters moved into their unpretentious cloister.

In 1864 and 1866 the land was purchased and the building erected which now forms the centre of the Cloister and the Old Folk's Home. In 1870 both wings were added. The Home lodges 300 old people.

The German Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum

The German Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum was originally the St. Mary's Orphan Asylum, which up to 1874 was situated on Broadway, next to St. Mary's Church. During the winter of 1873-74 all the German parishes in existence at the time organized and formed a society for the founding and maintenance of a Catholic Orphan Asylum for all German orphans of the diocese.

After lengthy negotiations 17 acres of land on Best Street, belonging to the Right Reverend Bishop Ryan, were bought for $30,000. On November 1st, 1874, the corner-stone of the Orphan Asylum was laid, and it was ready for occupancy on June 6th, 1875, at which time the main body of the structure was completed. In 10 years the land and the building with all its equipment were paid for. In 1887 both wings of the chapel were added. The building with all its appointments has a value of $150,000.

The Board of Directors of the Orphan Asylum is composed of the German priests and one or two representatives from every church in the city, and assembles monthly. At the last annual election of the Board of Directors, held in October, 1897, the following officers of the

Caption under picture at center reads The German Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum

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asylum were elected: Pres. - Rev. Dr. Paul Hoelscher; Vice-Pres. -Geo. Baldus; Secr. - Jacob Lang; Treas. - Anthony Neupert.

Catholic Institute

The Catholic Institute, organized on October 11th, 1865 was at first known under the name of the "German Catholic Young Men's Association". After a complete change of its original constitution on December 18th, 1871, the society was incorporated on May 23rd, 1872. The society numbers 800 members, and possesses a well stocked library, with a reading room open to the public.

Although founded by the German churches the Institute has never been successful in gaining the favor of all the churches. The German language has not been used for many years at the meetings and entertainments of the Institute.

In 1897 the society left its old home on the corner of Main and Chippewa Streets, and moved into its new, splendid structure on the corner of Main and Virginia Streets.

St. Joseph and St. Agnes

In Buffalo Plains, near the city line on Main Street, St. Joseph's Church is located. The church was founded as early as 1850. Anton Adolph was the first pastor, while the present head of the church is G.N. Zurcher. The parish school is attended by 60 children.

In 1884 St. Agnes Church was built on Benzinger Street, and in 1885 was assigned its own minister, the Right Reverend Charles Schaus; before that priests from the cathedral held the

Caption under picture at center reads St. Louis Church 1888. See Page 40

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services. The present priest is Joseph Fischer. The parish school has an attendance of 398 children.

In Kenmore

On November 13th, 1898, the corner-stone of a new catholic church St. Paul's on Delaware Avenue, in the suburb of Kenmore, was laid. For many years the German catholics of Kenmore had held their services in a little block church; in its place a brick church was built later. But this proving too small for the congregation, about three years ago arrangements were made for the erection of a new and larger church. F.J. Mange, Sr. presented the lot on Delaware Avenue, and $1,000 to the building fund.

A new German Catholic Congregation

During the month of June, 1898, a new German Catholic church was founded in the north-eastern part of the city. Its boundries are: On the north, Northland Ave.; on the east, the city line; on the south, North Hampton and Genesee Streets; on the west, the Parkway. Pastor J. Bubenheim, formerly rector of St. Mary's Church in Lockport, was called to the pastorate of the new church on June 25th.

Against Store Pay

Although at the beginnings of the fifties Buffalo had 40,000 inhabitants, of whom one-third were Germans, it had more the aspect of a large village than of a city worthy of the name of "Queen City of the Lakes". Only a few streets were paved, and it was nothing unusual to see domestic animals, such as cows, pigs and poultry, roaming about the streets. Cold Spring was considered a distant settlement, and Jefferson Street formed the eastern boundary line of the city. Further out, and north of High street, where only a few houses stood near Main Street, everything was underbrush and swamps.

Caption under picture at center reads Rt. Rev. James E. Quigley, D.D., 1897


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Revised April 4, 2005
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks