Salem Evangelical Reformed Church


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August 2021 (Greg Proefrock photo)

David Torke, May 2015, fixBuffalo
2005, 2013, 2014, 2015. Photo credit:David Torke, Bob Caico, WIVB


413 Sherman Street, Buffalo NY 14212

Next to: 417 Sherman Street
Near: 636 Sycamore Street


New Alliance Assembly

Physical Description

  • James Napora, from Houses of Worship: "The building, constructed of yellow brick, is one of the treasures of the city's ecclesiastical architecture. Located adjacent to Sycamore, the building is scaled perfectly for its off-street location, harmonizing with the neighborhood. A single flight of stairs leads to the double doors framed by two towers. The south tower, its spire removed years ago, contains a single bell. The interior, with its gently sloping floor, features a painting of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane."

Current Condition

  • Demolished, vacant lot.
    • It has been subject to roof leaks, falling bricks, and scrappers in recent years


  • 1873 - Congregation formed
  • 1907 - Current church built
    • Architect: Jacob Oberkircher
  • James Napora, from Houses of Worship: "In the early 1870s, members of the Zion Reformed Church on Lemon Street (destroyed) voiced concerns regarding the distance they had to travel from their homes to attend services there. Under the leadership of their pastor, Rev. J. B. Kneist, plans were made to establish a new congregation closer to the homes of these fifteen members. In April, twenty-five charter members, all of German descent, organized the congregation. They purchased the present lot on Sherman Street and constructed a small chapel upon it. The total expenditure amounted to $3,062 for both the lot and building. By 1886, the group, having outgrown the chapel, constructed an addition to it, doubling its original size. With the turn of the century, their house of worship was beginning to show signs of age. In November 1901, with all debts retired, they initiated a building fund for the current edifice. Six years later, they broke ground. They placed the cornerstone on 14 July, 1907 and dedicated the $30,000 house of worship on 16 February of the following year."

Recent Events and Actions Taken

  • January 2012 - David Torke, fixBuffalo, reports that it has been abandoned for years. The congregation had been meeting at the house next door, which is now demolished. The City boarded up some openings, and local preservationists locked the front entrance.
  • December 2013 - fixBuffalo will soon provide an updated blog post regarding a new owner of the building and any progress on its condition.
  • November 2014 - Council President Darius Pridgen has used Section 341-14 of Buffalo's City Code to erect a sign in front of the building (see photograph to the right). The sign identifies the owner of the property and his address "as a public service in the war against slums and blight".
  • May 2015 - fixBuffalo reports that the church "is now marked for demolition. It was purchased in 2011 for $1,000 at the city's tax sale by a New York City-based investor Kabir Mohammad. There has been no Preservation Board review of this pending demolition."
  • June 2016 - Buffalo Common Council has directed the city Law Department to draft and send a subpoena ordering [owner] Mohammed Kabir to appear in Council Chambers.
  • June 27, 2017: Demolition is imminent. David Torke on Facebook: "Demo Alert - 413 Sherman Street. The former Salem Evangelical Reformed Church is now slated for demolition. Crews dumped dirt earlier this week for filling the foundation, utility companies have flagged the parcel. For a city that prides itself on preservation - we're losing another irreplaceable cultural heritage building and neighborhood landmark. "
  • July 10, 2017 - DEMOLISHED at the City's expense, over $200,000.
  • The tower portion of the structure remains.
  • August 2021 - Architect Greg Proefrock reports that there are plans to build a new church on the site.

Other Pertinent Facts


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Added 2013-12-06 • Last changed 2021-08-04