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For Whom The Cell Tolls

Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church on Michigan Street has a new bell tower… or so you would think. Actually, this bell tower is a new cell tower for Verizon, disguised to look like a bell tower. Apparently, Verizon reached out to the church to install a cell tower, and a plan was hatched to cleverly disguise the new addition to the church’s property.

In order to get the work completed, Verizon needed to gain access to neighbor Eberl Iron Works. The Eberl family felt that the tower was a good addition to the street, and readily granted access to their property to work on the project.

One would never venture to guess that this structure is actually a cell phone tower, and that’s a good thing. Hopefully the church made a profitable longterm arrangement with Verizon, which will help it to thrive in a day when religious congregations continue to dwindle in urban communities.

Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church | Celebrating 83 Years | 665 Michigan Avenue | Buffalo, NY 14203 | 716-854-4880

A resident historian in the neighborhood had this to say about 653 Michigan:

653 Michigan is owned by Amiad Outfitters and Apothecary LLC 1440 Jefferson Ave. The brick house sits on a parcel 30′ x 105′. The parcel behind the house (where the cell/bell tower sits and the property east towards our driveway is owned by the church. According to a church trustee, the church never owned the brick building. The City’s website reports that the building is in ‘normal’ condition. It has a relatively new roof, but otherwise it warrants a listing of ‘poor condition’. Both the rear of the building and inside require extensive work. Word on the street is that Amiad Outfitters no longer exists, which might present a conundrum.

It appears as if it’s “do or die” for this structure. It would be a shame to see this building demoed after nearing it’s 100 year anniversary. There is a bright future for Michigan Avenue, as it is the cross-city connector between Main Street (at Canisius College), The Medical Campus, and the waterfront.

Last year, Eberl Iron Works outgrew its headquarters building on Michigan and extended its operation to 103 Sycamore, which is located just around the corner from the main building, thus  creating an Eberl campus of sorts.

128 Sycamore an extended part of the Eberl campus – To the left, you can see the Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in the distance, where the new cell tower is located

This is not the time to lose any more buildings on Michigan Avenue. With recent investments into the neighborhood by Eberl, The City should be paying close attention to 653 Michigan Avenue, before we end up with another parking lot on our hands.

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.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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