It’s not that often that we get to celebrate the 200 year anniversary of a building in Buffalo. So when the time comes, we better make it a festive occasion. On Saturday, September 23, from 11 am to 3 pm, a free “Bicentennial Block Party” will be held for one of the city’s most recognized and celebrated structures – St. Paul’s Cathedral (139 Pearl Street). The cathedral has stood watch over Buffalo for 200 years, and as the rest of downtown Buffalo went through its ebbs and flows, the building stood tall and mighty, despite witnessing many of its historic counterpart buildings being demolished as Urban Renewal swept the country.
There could be no better time to pay tribute to Richard Upjohn’s stone masterpiece. As congregations continue to dwindle around the country, we must remember our roots, which are the building blocks of a city. Today, the church is open for “business”, by continuing to attract any and all who might be looking for peace and salvation within its walls.
Two hundred years have come and gone since a small group of Connecticut Yankees founded St. Paul’s Church in a tavern located on the Northwest corner of Main and Huron Streets. The lot St. Paul’s stands on today was donated by the Holland Land Company in 1818, and Buffalo’s first house of worship was erected soon after upon this lot.
“St. Paul’s strives to be not only the Cathedral for The Episcopal Diocese of Western New York but for all who work, live and play in Buffalo and the region. The Cathedral offers a safe, secure and non-judgmental setting for non-profit groups, civic and social organizations and others looking for a venue where important issues confronting the region and nation can be discussed, analyzed and acted upon.” – St. Paul’s
Come the day of the celebration, Pearl Street will be closed down between West Swan and Church streets, and converted into a street festival, to honor the 200th birthday of St. Paul’s Cathedral. There will be live bands, an artists’ market, and family friendly activities, along with BW’s chicken barbecue dinners ($10 each) and other foods. In the spirit of the church, all of the profits made on that day will be donated to “Hurricanes Harvey & Irma” relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts.
The original wooden structure was replaced by Richard Upjohn’s stone masterpiece in 1849-50. Over the years, both Buffalo and St. Paul’s have weathered many storms together: wars, booms, depression, as well as the decline and recent resurgence of downtown; all of which have presented new challenges and opportunities to both Buffalonians and Churchgoers alike.
St. Paul’s Cathedral is also the permanent home to “Homeless Jesus“, a sculpture that attracts visitors from far and wide.
Come celebrate this Buffalo institution that has been giving back to the community for 200 years. There will be tours of the historic building offered during the celebration.
Presenting sponsors of the Bicentennial Block Party are: Evans Bank, RP Oak Hill, UnitedHealthcare, the Flickinger Family, and WKBW-TV. Schneider Family of Services, Kelley Brothers, Hodgson Russ, Constellation are participating sponsors. Other supporters of the Bicentennial Block Party include Images in Glass, Investment Analytics & Pepe Construction.