Great Things Happening on the St. Matthew’s Block: Part I

Although the future of St. Matthew’s Church remains
uncertain, there are some great things happening on the block. The former
convent, rectory, and school have all been reused in recent years and there is
some new work currently underway. This is the first part of a two part series
highlighting the good things happening on the St. Matthew’s Campus.

The former convent and rectory have been purchased and
rehabilitated for the treatment, job training, and safe housing for homeless veterans.
It’s called the Peter Young Altamont Program, named after Father Peter Young.
The Altamont program is funded by the federal government and VA per diem
grants. Eric Paul, the director of the Buffalo program led a tour of both
buildings and offered his view on the future of the church.

The program at the St. Matthew’s campus began in October
2009 and has been expanding ever since. Currently the third floor of the
convent is being expanded for additional rooms. New dormers are being added
which complement the original dormers very well. Even the color of the roof
shingles was thought out so that it would match the roof of the rectory.

The location was chosen because of the access to public
transportation as well as the purchase price. It was the right price, at the
right time. Residents can easily take the Ferry bus to go to their job in the
area or to the VA hospital on Bailey Avenue. The Altamont program is big on
reusing historic properties, especially religious ones while also being
sensitive to the historic character. While some original windows are being
replaced for code purposed, all of the original, beautiful art glass windows
are being retained.

Eric was hopeful that St. Matthews could be saved and
perhaps even the VA organization could help out. “I would love to see us do
something with it. We’re trying to find a non-profit business venture, so using
the building would be great for that” he said. While the future of St.
Matthew’s is by no means a secured, there still may be potential for mothballing
it and waiting.

SM-1730.jpg

^ Stained glass window in the convent stairwell

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^ A new roof and additional dormers taking shape at the convent

SM-1787.jpg

^ The rectory at St. Matthew’s

For more photos of the St. Matthew’s Campus including the Church, check out my Flickr page, Views of Buffalo 

About the author  ⁄ Mike Puma

Writing for Buffalo Rising since 2009 covering development news, historic preservation, and Buffalo history. Works professionally in historic preservation.

5 comments
Publius
Publius

Fabulous work by the Peter Young Altamont Program for rehabilitating these beautiful buildings for the benefit of veterans.

Also, much praise to fixBuffalo's David Torke who understood the asset St. Matthews is to the E. Ferry neighborhood and advocated for their preservation.

After decades of disinvestment, East Buffalo needs to build on its inherent assets more than ever. Its historic churches, schools, rectories and convents and the most notable of those assets and they are found throughout East Buffalo. Allowing for their demise would just further the decline of a community that has declined enough while impeding any future potential for investment.

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

Great to hear, Mike. Thanks for the update-it is nice to see an increasing amount of positive movement afoot on the East Side.

Lego1981
Lego1981

After clicking the one link and viewing the ins and outs of the old church. I do believe that would make for an excellent performance hall. Sort of like Babeville on Delaware. Great open space and location!

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