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Mapping Buffalo Churches

Back in July I posted on The Buffalo Drinking Map, showing all of the breweries, distilleries, etc., in the area (past and present). Now the same researchers have compiled a map of churches in Buffalo, which couldn’t be more timely considering that this city is constantly on guard, defending its architectural heritage.

“Back in 1901, the Charity Organization Society drew up a map of every church in Buffalo,” wrote Cynthia Van Ness, MLS, Director of Library & Archives at the Buffalo History Museum. “Our copy at the museum was defaced, so we had an intern, Peter Malia, replicate it as a Google map.  He mapped over 200 churches that existed in 1901 and color-coded them by denomination.  This is very helpful for genealogists who are trying to figure out where an ancestor may have worshipped, because in church records they might be able to find ancestral baptisms, marriages, and deaths.  For urban historians, the map suggests settlement patterns: Anglo churches here, German churches there.  For Buffalonians in general, it shows the names and locations of churches that have since burned down or been demolished.

“Then we started building on Peter’s map.  Assistant Librarian Amy Miller added about 100 images to the map points. Now, if you click on any church, the window that pops up may contain a link to a picture of the church, a link to where existing records can be found (if known), and a link to a congregational history. We have another intern building a Buffalo-related Google map right now, which we hope will be finished and ready for prime time by the end of the year.  We are having way too much fun with Google maps!”

Similar to The Buffalo Drinking Map, this church map is interactive. The user is able to single out a single church, or view the entire church landscape with a click of the button. The map denotes church history and church records in the sidebar.

Now, hopefully this resource will help us to better track our churches, such as Our Lady of Lourdes (lead image) which never appears to make much headway and is always improperly safeguarded from Mother Nature’s elements. It would be great to see current status information added to the at-risk churches, so that the preservation community can more readily track them and rally behind them.

In the meantime, it’s wonderful to have such a thorough community resource at our disposal.


Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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