Buffalo East Side Churches
This page seeks to document what we know about the old churches of Buffalo's East Side Neighborhood. If you can add information (or photographs), please contact me.
Last Updated: 27 August 2006
NOTE: Email addresses have been modified to reduce spam. Protestant
- Ebenezers / Community of True Inspiration. Located in what is now the Fourteen Holy Helpers Parish (see Catholic Churches, below), Gardensville, West Seneca. This commual society had separated from the Lutheran Church in Germany, emigrating to Western NY to pursue their utopian vision and religious beliefs. In the 1850s, they moved their community to Armana, Iowa to escape the growth of Buffalo industrialism. The Catholic church purchased their meeting house and established the Fourteen Holy Helpers Paris in October 1864 (see Catholics, below).
1st German Evangelical Church
Located at the southwest corner of Spruce and Sycamore Streets. The church dates back to at least the 1840s, and is now a Baptist Church. photo contributed by Nancy Hanes.
- German Evangelical Lutheran Church
(Formerly Christ Lutheran Church)
Broadway & Fox (but closed 1999)
NOTE on records: The records are now in the archives at the Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia.
phone: 215 - 248 - 6383 (Tuesdays)
email at: mtairyarchives_AT_LTSP.edu
ask for Robyn Kulp; they will search the records for $20 per hour.
Joe Hayden's Tribute to this church.
- German Lutheran Trinity Church
1890: Rev. Martin Burk, pastor
- Lutheran Grace Church
1890: Rev. Oscar H. Kraft, pastor
- St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church
1830s through at least 1860: Rev. F.H. Guenter, pastor
1890: Rev. J. Brezing, pastor
Originally at 270 or 285 Hickory until the 1950s when it moved to Main Street in Williamsville.
NEW: St. John's now has its own web site: St. John Lutheran Church History. See a list of pastors, photos from the original location, and other great historical information about the church. Thanks Conrad Sorenson, web master for the church, for alerting me to this great new site!
(From History of the Germans in Buffalo: The first German-Protestant divine service in Buffalo was held, in 1828, in a room over Kuntz (Koons) & Handel's Grocery, on the east side of Main Street, about fifty feet south of Genesee Street. The little flock of worshipers counted among its members before the beginning of the thirties: Johann Heinrich Koch, Peter Schmidt, Jacob and Johann Nickolas Miller, Peter Reinhard, Georg Stoll, Christian Knoll, Christian Loewengut, and Christian Schappert. They organized on the 10th day of February, 1832, the first German Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, with the following board of trustees: Jacob Siebold, Rudolph Baer, Ernst G. Grey, Christian Bronner, Christian Lapp, and Friedrich Dellenbach. The vestry consisted of Ludwig Bronner, Sr., Samuel Kriegelstein, Michael Ruch, and Michael Goetz. The congregation was incorporated December 14, 1833. Its members at the time were: George Heidelbach, Henry Schanz, Jacob Knoblauch, Jacob Hauenstein, Michael Scheer, George Gass, Jacob Dieffenbach, George Denni, George Kopf, Joshua Hausmann, Christian Kautz, Adam Knopf, Johann Schaub, George Gangloff, Johann Bauer, Henry Urban, Jacob Laufer, Friedrich Bauer, Valentin Loegler, Jacob Brunner, Christian Schuttler, Wilhelm Rinck, Jacob Stauch, Jacob Weber, Philip Koenig, Gottfried Graehling, Johann Schuettler, Christian Weiss, Jacob Schweitzer, Michael Mather, Daniel Becker, George Volz, George Schneider, Jacob H. Kuntz, Samuel Kriegelstein, Philip Beyer, Friedrich Zittel, John Kuecherer, Daniel Devening, Michael Freytag, Nikolas Mueller, Adam Schmidt, Christian Shappert, George Hess, Johann Wiegant, Jacob Rudolph, Mathias Heist, Christian Keller, Jacob Bauer, Balthasar Bom, Friedrich Wuest, George Pfeiffer, George Brunner, Jacob Bergtold, Daniel Poersch, Jacob Mangold, Nikolas Koenig, George M. Ruch, Jacob Jost, Christian Hoffman, Samuel Burch, and John Burg. In 1833 the following were confirmed: Jacob Buk, George Beyer, Godfried Graehling, Michael Eschrich, George Freitag, George Kopf, Christian Weiss, Mathias Glasser, Salomea Durch, Magdalena Mueller, Katharina Ruch, Anna Maria Schanz, Salomea Mangold, Christine Graehling, and Anna Maria Glasser. On the 9th of September, 1835, the corner stone of their church on Hickory Street, between William Street and Broadway, was laid; but not before eight years later, on Ascension Day, 1843, was the new church, christened "Saint John's Church," in honor of the apostle, completed for dedication. Two years previously an organ had been provided, to elevate the singing of the chants during service.
- St. Matthew's German Evangelical Church
(now United Church of Christ)
5289 South McKinley Parkway
Records have not been transcribed, but one researcher visited in 1999 and searched the records.
|St. Peter's German Evangelical Church 1835-1935
1848-1854 Records have been transcribed.
Later called St. Peters Evangelical and Reform Church. Founded in 1835 when a German Congregation was formed within the Presbytery under the name German Evangelical Church. Up until 1848 this church was a mission of the First Presbyterian Church. Church was also known as St. Peter's Evangelical Reformed and St. Peter's United Church of Christ. Acquired the original building of St. Paul's Episcopal in 1849 and moved it to the Genesee Street location (at Hickory). Notes from Jack Smith (deceased) indicate that the (wooden?) church was torn down in 1876 and rebuilt in 1877. St. Peter's merged with Lloyd's Memorial, both became New Covenant United Church of Christ on Clinton Street in Buffalo. All St. Peters records were relinquished as follows: The original registers for this church are now located in the Buffalo & Erie Co. Historical Society. The Buffalo & Erie. Co. Public Library may also be in possession of some records (possibly Bibles) in the rare book room. St. Peters records (1848 -1968) are on FHL#1381672. St. Peters was one of three churches that used Concordia Cemetery on Walden Avenue in Buffalo. Some Concordia Cemetery records are on film # 0897407. Years 1879-1920 (approx) are online.
Reverend Edward Jung; pastor there 1876-1894; photo courtesy of Darcy McCabe; Photographer: F. Ruppel, 182 Maple St. Buffalo, NY
Interior shot of St. Peter's (Photo courtesy of Karen Kolb)
- St. Paul / St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran
In the beginning of the year 1843 about 30 families separated themselves from the St. John's Evang. Lutheran Church on Hickory Street and resolved to found a new German Evangelical church. The first pastor was Jan van Linge, who had been chosen in the first year of its existence 1843. But at the end of 1844, before the completion of the building, he resigned his position and the congregation called Rev. Frederick Soldan of Rochester, NY. Eight years he served the congregation faithfully, but nevertheless, he was not able to prevent a division which resulted in the seceding of many members from the church. These seceders at once united themselves to organize a new evangelical congregation--the present St. Stephen's church--with Rev. Soldan as their pastor. This was a sad experience for the congregation [of St. Paul's], the result of which was felt more seriously as the congregation was not able to recover from this effect under the successors to Rev. Soldau, the pastors Kalthaeuser and Wm. Schmidt." [Source: "Geschichte der Deutschen in Buffalo und Erie County, N.Y." (History of The Germans in Buffalo and Erie County, N.Y.), Verlag und Druck von Reinecke & Zesch., Buffalo, NY, 1898, p. 295.]
- St. Stephen's United Evangelical (German)
Adams at the corner of Peckham
1) Rev. Charles F. Soldan (1803-1875)
2) Rev. F. Schelle
Organized in 1853 by several members who split off from St. Paul's German United Evangelical, under the initial pastor Charles Frederick Soldan (1803-1875). Early services being held in the French Protestant church at Ellicott & Tupper. In 1854, Soldan resigned and Rev. G. Schelle became pastor and served for 45 years. In 1858 the congregation built its own church at Peckham & Adams Streets. In 1874 the church was enlarged and dedicated with a seating capacity of 1600. The Evangelical Church home (for the aged) was built in 1874, a school house built in 1885 and a parsonage in 1900. The church was still on the same site in the 1920's. St. Stephen's was one of three churches that used Concordia Cemetery on Walden Avenue in Buffalo. Concordia Cemetery records are on film # 0897407. Some scattered burial records are still held by Concordia Cemetery but not in any order. As of 1997, this congregation is now known as St. Stephen's Bethlehem United Church of Christ. Relocated in 1957 to 750 Wehrle Drive, Amherst New York. The baptismal font in this church was dedicated in the original church on 22 May 1864. They are in possession of the original registers (in the old German script) for the following years: 1853-1879 all records, 1880-1901 deaths, 1880-1903 births, 1880-1898 marriages, 1880-1901 confirmations, and additional recent registers. These records are not available on LDS microfilm, but were filmed by the WNYGS in summer 2004 and are available through them at the Erie/Buffalo public library.
- United Evangelical St. Marcus
393-397 Oak Street
Rev. Otto Bueren (anyone know from when to when?)
- Fourteen Holy Helpers Parish
Located in what is now Gardenville, West Seneca, Erie County. Initially built by the "Community of True Inspiration" (a Lutheran splinter group), the Catholics purchased this property after the former emigrated further west (see section above), forming this church in October 1864.
- St. Adalbert Basilica
Color photo of interior
212 Stanislaus St, Buffalo NY 14212
"This parish was formed in 1886, amidst strong tensions between the pastor of St. Stanislaus the Rev. Jon Pitass, Bishop Ryan and members of the Polish community. It makes for a fascinating history as relayed in the church histories found in the links below. But none of this should take away from the beauty of this church that was proclaimed the United States' first Basilica by the Vatican in 1907."
- St. Ann's Catholic Church
from Buffalo Preservation Works.
- St. Joseph's Church
According to "Former St. Joseph's Cemetery, University Heights, Buffalo", by Glenn R.P. Atwell, Western New York Genealogy Genealogical Journal, Vol. XXIX, No. 1 (June 2002, pg. 14), this cemetery was closed about 1924, by which time many of the remains were moved to the German & French Cemetery at Pine Ridge in Cheektowaga. Any remaining bodies were place in a common grave. [Where?] The burial register between November 1857 and December 1894 have disappeared. A search of the parish offices in the 1970s failed to located the records. The article lists removals from St. Joseph's Cemetery recorded at the United and French R. C. Cemetery, Pine Hill, 1884-1926.
St. Louis Church
Main & Edwards Streets,
According to Rick Fraas, this is the oldest Catholic church in Buffalo. It still stands at the corner of Main & Edward street. Many of the families who lived in the fruit belt (Grape, Maple , Mulberry, Peach streets, etc.) attended here. The church records have been microfilmed and are at the downtown library, in the Canisius College archives and several other places in city.
Photo courtesy of Kate Johnson
NEW! Karl R. Josker has taken a wonderful interior photo of St. Louis.
- St. Mary of Sorrows / Church of the Seven Dolors
Location: 938 Genesee at Rich St; corner-stone laid 19 Jun 1887. See also:
- St. Mary of Sorrows / Church of the Seven Dolors
Other Church-related sites
- Karl R. Josker's "Lofty Photos" (beautiful shots of church interiors).
- Joe Hayden's Buffalo's Faith Elevators
Includes "Where's the Steeple" -- east side churches that lost their steeple due to storm years ago.
- The Polish Genealogical Society of New York
Includes a list of Polish churches in Western New York, some of which are in the East Side neighborhood. Site includes stats, brief histories, & photos or drawings.