This Church Could Use Your Help!

St. John’s United Church of Christ at 85 Amherst Street in Black Rock could use your help raising funds for building repairs and they are making it easy for you to do that.  They invite you to join them at their fund raiser event this Thursday January 17th from 6-8:30 pm. Admission at the door is $2.00.  They will be selling sloppy joe, drinks, and snacks in addition to holding a “grand auction”.  You can also volunteer for the event and / or donate items for the auction.  Money raised will go toward needed repairs to this really fantastic and little known chuch building.  For more information call Sue at 716.877.0532.  This is your chance to help save one of Buffalo’s great architectural treasures before the wreckers show up.  Note that the Buffalo Religious Arts Center is also right around the corner. Check that out too while in the neighborhood.  

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About the author  ⁄ david steele

25 comments
Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

A long term downspout problem caused a small area of the wall to bulge out on both sides of the setbacks at the tower. The damage was just below the connection of the gutter/downspout visible in the photo.

STEEL
STEEL

What is the repair that your are undertaking?

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

It was a pleasure to meet you as well, thanks for your effort, great to see another advocate for Black Rock.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

The Howell House is at 189-191 Dearborn, the stone section was built in 1830, the frame addition about 1880. Howell built the Frontier Mills at the foot of Amherst St in 1832. A stone store stood just north of the house but was demolished. The house across the street at 190 Dearborn was vacant for many years but is presently undergoing renovation. The stone marker is a memorial to Judge Burd, a prominent resident of Black Rock.

We installed a marker at Amherst and Niagara to recognize the British landing in 1813. The landing boats were scattered along the riverfront from Amherst St to possibly as far as Ontario St due to downstream drift. Amherst St was originally named Ferry St until Black Rock was annexed by Buffalo in 1853-54. The foot of Amherst was a natural crossing point from the earliest period, the Native Americans used this place for centuries. There are two new interpretive panels in the Market Square at Niagara and Amherst, these panels outline the history of Black Rock and also show the location and significance of the 19 Historic Markers we installed last year.

Old First Ward
Old First Ward

Is the Howell House the one at 193 Dearborn that is half stone and the other half with asbestos siding and painted in gray? Directly across the street is a boarded up house in white. Using the older google images. What is that marker stone in the curbstrip on Amherst?

Once again another abandoned Church complex (St.Francis) from the Catholic Diocese. An absolute travesty. See my rant just below this.

Is there a marker designating the exact area where the British came ashore in Black Rock? Also, from the Canadian side, do you know the spot where they crossed from Canada?

moonqueen
moonqueen

So nice to meet you in person finally, Black Rock Lifer. Thank you so much for attending the event.

The event went amazingly well! We were able to earn nearly 1/3 of the estimate the church was given for repairs (around $12k in total is needed from what I've heard). We had nearly 120 gift baskets and certificates donated to auction, in addition to seperate auctions for a basket of homemade knit goodies, a necklace and earring set donated by Korona Jewelers and a $100 lottery tree put together by members of the fundraiser. A 4'x4' painting I did of the church was raffled off as the door prize and the winner donated it back to the church. Local politicians Lynn Marinelli and Joe Golombek were in attendance (JG also helped pay for some of the advertising, in addition to donations by Rich at the Riverside Review). Many local business owners were also in attendance, including Mark from Joe's Service Center and the owner of the The Green Room on Niagara St.

There is a still a lot more to be done, and I'm hoping to coordinate with the church to set up some kind of online fund (a la the bus lady)! Thanks to everyone who attended and to BR for putting this article up. At least one person mentioned to me that they came because of it, and I'm sure there were others.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

Great turnout tonight, the church basement was packed to capacity. The people here in Black Rock can always be depended on to come together for a good cause. These "preservationists" are the real deal, volunteering their time, effort, and dollars to help support St Johns.

Old First Ward
Old First Ward

You know what, it is beautiful space inside. But we have enough on our plate to worry about Philadelphia. The condition of that church is deplorable. They should be called out very vocally and publicly about that.

I'll say this, and I sincerely mean it, I am Catholic and I whole heartily disagree with the way the diocese abandons Churches. These houses of worship are forever tax exempt and they have a moral as well as monetary obligation to their upkeep and use.

The Catholic Church should never allow a sacred place to be desecrated and destroyed. Instead of building new retirement homes for priests they should be forced to rehabilitate and reuse a closed Church and rectory first.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

Here's a chance to truly make a difference and contribute to preserving this great old church. We often see comments here on BRO claiming preservationists are not proactive and do not put their money where their mouth is, lets prove that wrong.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

St John's is one of the many landmarks in the Market Square Historic District. The three blocks of Amherst Street from Niagara to Tonawanda is one of the most historic areas in Buffalo. The circa 1830 Market Square at Amherst and Niagara is the oldest public market in Buffalo and is also where the British landed to burn Black Rock and Buffalo in 1813. The Howell House stands at Amherst and Dearborn, built of stone in the Federal style in 1830. The Jacob Smith House and Tavern stands at Amherst and East, this timber frame Federal style home was built in 1830-35. The old Engine 15 is across the street, this Arts and Crafts firehouse was the home of the beat poet Robert Creeley for many years. Finally the St Francis Church complex on East St is the home to the Religous Arts Center. The church was founded in 1849, the present church was constructed in 1911 in the Romanesque style.

moonqueen
moonqueen

A flyer for the event can be found on Believe in Black Rock's Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/BelieveInBlackRock

We are hosting the event along with Riverside Homemakers and the church's congregation. Thank you so much for posting an article about it!!!

RaChaCha
RaChaCha

That church really ties the neighborhood together, man!

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

The Black Rock neighborhood has endured for almost 200 years despite the challenges and difficulties so many old urban areas face. The immediate area surrounding St John's is the oldest intact neighborhood in Buffalo and contains the greatest concentration of homes constructed prior to 1850.

RaChaCha
RaChaCha

Great church and congregation. I've been there a few times after the "Rediscover Grant-Amherst" parade for their famous strawberry shortcake. Yum! Sadly, that was a missing part of the fun this year -- I hope they are able to bring that back!

Fortunate4now
Fortunate4now

Beautiful church with an impressive spire. The roof and exterior look to be in good shape, what sort of repairs are needed? Is there a PayPal link available to submit a donation online?

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

The house next door is the John Esser House, constructed in 1878 with Eastlake details. The house is also in the Market Square Historic District and is presently a rental.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

St John's was established as the German Evangelical Church of Black Rock Damn in 1847. The church has been serving the Black Rock community continually since that time. The present building was constructed in 1890 incorporating the tower from the old building. The church is located in the Market Square Historic District and is a part of a very attractive streetscape here in the heart of the old village of Lower Black Rock.

The congregation is small but dedicated, a great group of people working hard to keep this historic church alive.

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

Buffalo needs both a preservation fund as well as a, more targeted, sacred spaces fund--these churches anchor the neighborhoods and are too significant to lose.

ranjekna
ranjekna

GREAT IDEA!! I love this!

Rand503
Rand503

At two bucks a head, they'll only be able to repair the doorbell. Really, for what they offer in return, and also the great need, ten bucks isn't a lot to ask. But I'll even settle for a fiver.

Rand503
Rand503

And what a pretty house next door!

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