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First German Baptist Church

  Lost      Demolition By Neglect  



June 2016
http://preservationready.org/Buildings/41SpruceStreet-Draft?action=download&upname=41Spruce2008.jpg
http://preservationready.org/Buildings/41SpruceStreet-Draft?action=download&upname=41Spruce2013.jpg
http://preservationready.org/Buildings/41SpruceStreet-Draft?action=download&upname=41Spruce2014.jpg
http://www.preservationready.org/Buildings/41SpruceStreet?action=download&upname=41SpruceStreetApril2016.jpg
2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 photo credit:
David Torke fixBuffalo,Mike Puma ViewsOfBuffalo,Buffalo Rising, WGRZ, Jessie Fisher

Location

41 Spruce Street, Buffalo NY 14204
Google Bird's Eye View
Ellicott Council District
SBL: 111.48-3-39
Erie County Property Info
County Tax Map (loads GIS page)
City of Buffalo Parcel Viewer

  • Seven blocks from Downtown Buffalo's Lafayette Square.

Owner

  • Trinity Baptist Church, currently located at 2930 Bailey Avenue, Buffalo NY 14215

Physical Description

  • Brick church buit in 1869.

Current Condition

  • Abandoned, fire damage in the rear as of April 2016.

History

  • Built in 1869 (fixBuffalo)
  • Organized as the fourth Baptist congregation in the city, the third German Baptist in the country (Buffaloah.com)
  • Built as the First German Baptist Church

Recent Events and Actions Taken

  • August 2016 - DEMOLISHED
  • 2010 - Preservation Board voted against demolition of the church.
  • 3/25/2013 - Mike Puma: "I was able to get in touch with the church, located at 2930 Bailey Avenue and the receptionist informed me that the church will be demolished shortly and they will not consider selling it. This decision apparently comes after a structural report revealed the building was 'beyond repair'. A quick call to Inspections and Demolitions at City Hall confirms that demolition is imminent. I spoke with Taleshia in the office who stated that the owners have a demolition permit, but have not yet raised the necessary funds. Apparently, the owners are able to do a sort of payment plan pre-demo, which once fully funded will mean the end for this 144 year old church."
  • Several people have contacted the owner and asked about purchasing possibilities. One response was that "the congregation has voted to demolish, so it will be demolished".
  • December 1, 2014 - A demolition notice was placed on the front of the building
  • April 24, 2016 - A fire destroys portions of the back of the church, resulting in $50,000 damage. Either the rear portion, or the entire building, will be demolished, according to the fire chief. WGRZ
  • Jessie Fisher, PBN, April 25, 2016: "Was at 41 Spruce this morning. An addition did have a fire and has been demoed, but it appears the addition was minimally keyed into the main structure, which, while suffering some smoke damage to the plaster and lath, remains intact as you can see below [on the right]. The original 1869 building, while still in need of a roof job, is still intact and worthy of preservation. I've met with church reps and am dialogue between with the city. Let's keep pressure on the City to not tear down this structure while working with the owners on a positive outcome."
  • Jessie Fisher, PBN, April 25, 2016, mid-day: "Emergency demo has been confined (for now) to the addition in the rear that burned. The building still has roofing issues and needs to be boarded more securely. We will continue to work with the owner on these issues."
  • Jessie Fisher, PBN, June 28, 2016: "It is with a heavy heart that we report that the demolition of the 1869 First German Baptist Church (later Trinity Baptist Church) is imminent. This beautiful Romanesque Revival building--the tenth oldest surviving Church in Buffalo, and one with deep history in both the German and the African American community--has suffered catastrophic roof failure. This is separate from the damage caused by a fire last month. The Church has suffered years of neglect and, despite efforts by various parties to purchase the building and PBN's commitment of time and resources over the last several months to encourage the owners to consider alternatives to demolition, the building has finally succumbed to neglect."
    "PBN reached out, on behalf of our members, to the the Preservation Board (which has denied demolition applications twice before on this property) to see whether the building could be stabilized, and if not, if certain artifacts can be salvaged, such as the cornerstone, the bell, and the beautiful German inscription on the front facade. PBN is re-doubling its work to preserve sacred spaces, and is honing its strategy to conserve religious architecture in Buffalo."

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Added 2013-02-10 • Last changed 2016-08-16