I just heard
from some of our Blackrock friends that the Breckenridge Meeting House (aka
Union Meeting House) is in the process of getting a new roof. “So
what?” you ask. Well, the Breckenridge Meeting House, formerly the Breckenridge Presbyterian Church, is
Buffalo’s oldest church building.
It was built in 1827 (that’s EIGHTEEN
TWENTY SEVEN), almost 200 years ago (that’s TWO HUNDRED YEARS), by the
American War of 1812 general Peter Porter. The building has been
underutilized and in a general state of neglect for several decades, reportedly receiving many code violation citations in recent
years. I am told it is owned by the multibillion-dollar Buffalo company,
A roof is
the first line of defense in protecting historic buildings. In Buffalo we
know all too well what happens when owners neglect to invest in roof
maintenance. The Webb Building was recently brought back
from the dead after its roof collapsed due to lack of roof repair.
White’s livery also partially collapsed due to lack of roof maintenance.
It has been partially demolished and awaits the start of reconstruction as
an apartment building. The most recent roof related
historic heritage disaster is the Summit Building on Main near Allen. Its interior also collapsed
due to water leaking through its roof. It now awaits a half
million-dollar grant from the state, to be used to shore up its walls while a
development plan is put together. It has been reported that a $50,000
roof investment 10 years ago would have avoided all of this damage.
$500,000 or $50,000 or tear down the building – which is the wise investment?
Thankfully, Rich Products has chosen what I would deem the wise investment. A new
roof on this massively historic Buffalo building will at minimum save it for
another generation. In that amount of time a new use could be
found. Anyone want to bet that there is a nice party in a renovated
Breckenridge Meeting House in 2028? For those who don’t do math in their
heads that would be its 200th birthday.
from Buffalo as an Architectural Museum, where you can find a more images and a
history of the building, as well as more on General Porter.