Aug 23, 2013

Preservation Buffalo Niagara Working to Avoid Demolition of St. Ann's Church

The following statement comes directly from Preservation Buffalo Niagara regarding the threat of demolition at St. Ann's Church and Shrine at Broadway and Emslie streets.
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Earlier this week the Diocese of Buffalo announced the planned demolition of St. Ann’s Church on Broadway Avenue in Buffalo. The announcement comes nearly a year and half after the Diocese closed the church as a temporary worship site as a result of safety concerns posed by the building’s exterior condition. In April of this year an engineering study revealed a multi-million dollar estimate for reconstruction and repair of the church’s stone structure. Preservation Buffalo Niagara(PBN) is determined to find a viable alternative to the impending demolition of this historic landmark.

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Constructed in 1886, the towering Neo-Gothic church has been a cultural and community landmark for its East Side neighborhood for 127 years. Deeply rooted in European building tradition, the imposing scale of the structure is highlighted by two magnificent spires which once stood 200 feet high. The exterior of St. Ann’s is only rivaled by the ornate and elaborate interior of the church. Within the 7 foot-thick stonewalls the soaring nave and transept is home to hundreds of historic and religious artifacts, many from 19th Century Germany, including thirty-five stunning stained glass windows that line the interior space. In addition to the primary church building, the St Ann’s campus consists of a school, a rectory and convent all with their own historic detail, significances and charm.

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PBN, acting in its role as Western New York’s leading not-for-profit historic preservation advocate, is seeking to facilitate a positive community discussion about the future of St. Ann’s. PBN is intent on working with all members of the Western New York community who have an interest in saving one of our region’s most remarkable treasures. PBN is currently working with past and present parishioners of St Ann’s, real estate professionals, developers as well as government and elected officials. New York State Senator Tim Kennedy has joined the effort offering all available resources to the cause.

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“The legacy of St. Ann's Church runs deep into Buffalo's storied history. For 127 years, this beautiful church has towered over the East Side neighborhood," said Senator Tim Kennedy. "Children grew up here, couples were married here, neighbors gathered here, and families relied on St. Ann's. So much history will live on in our hearts, but we could never recreate this masterpiece church. It would be a tragedy to lose such a treasure. Our community is rallying behind the parishioners and neighbors, and now we must stick together, think creatively and work hard to save St. Ann's Church for generations to come.

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After the cornerstone was laid in 1878, the construction of St. Ann’s became a community affair. Local craftsmen, masons, carpenters and the rest of the surrounding community came together to lend a hand anyway they could in building the magnificent structure that we have inherited. Now it is our turn to do our part to save and preserve the history of our ancestors. PBN is calling on all members of the community who have an interest in St Ann’s, an expertise that might be of assistance to this cause or who would like to share a St. Ann’s related story to contact us immediately at info@p-b-n.org or (716) 852-3300. If we work together it is possible to save this landmark for future generations to enjoy.

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