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edjdempsey

Buffalo Church Closings

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In the past year, the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo has announced the closing of 20 churches within the City of Buffalo due to declining memberships. In no way, shape, or form do I want to get into a discussion of the virtues of the Catholic Church or the lack thereof.

However, the impending tragedy, in my opinion, is that each of these buildings, most of which were built in the late 19th century will be left to uncertain fates in neighborhoods already struggling to survive. Many of these buildings once served as the center of these communities, and in recent years have become significant providers of social services to area residents.

A recent article in the Buffalo News details plans to make one church into a museum. I think that is an interesting concept, but what is to become of the remaining 19 churches?

I knew of a few of these churches, but not of all of them. So I tracked down the information on the remaining churches and put together this map collection viewable on maps.live.com. Turn on the "Bird's Eye View" and scroll through the list. The architecture is absolutely amazing. Further investigation reveals that most of these churches were designed by renowned architects of the time, and came at the significant sacrifice of the immigrant communities that financed their construction.

I understand the economics behind the move to close and consolidate parishes, and I reiterate, this isn't about the Catholic Church. I do believe, however, that the decay of these buildings will be another sad chapter in Buffalo's history and a very significant loss of part of the City's architectural past.

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