As a sort of peace offering to the demolished Saint Mary’s on The Hill, the church’s bell has been memorialized at the corner of what is now a parking lot. Congratulations to everyone who knew, from the get-go, that this was going to be the fate of the church.
The corner is now designated parking for staff, students and faculty of D’Youville College. The 118 year old, 600 lb. memorial bell acts as a tiny buffer along Niagara Street, to what is now a sizable lot. It’s also a daily reminder of modern day, unsuccessful preservation efforts, despite The City’s claim to be preservation friendly.
BRO’s Sterling Smalley covered the incredible parking lot story back in September of 2013 (see here).
It’s especially unfortunate because the church walls could have been saved to create an outdoor neighborhood venue (Rochester got it right when that city opted to retain the walls of a similar church that was in peril – now St. Joseph’s Park). This is how it went down in Buffalo. There was even a developer waiting in the wings, who was never even given the chance to make a case – many said that the attached rectory was in fine shape. It’s too bad that this bell can’t even toll for the demolished church. Instead it has been permanently affixed (silenced) to the brick walls from which it hangs.