Orphaned...in Buffalo

This hurts.
I'll be going to the opening, Thursday October 19th in Toronto. It's at Hang Man Gallery and Orphaned runs from October 17 to November 5th. During the past few years I've captured interior and exterior shots - Orphaned on Dodge Street - and link to a rather extraordinary site documenting some of the German Roman Catholic Orphan Home's social history, too. This orphan home was the first stop on this past summer's Tour dé Neglect.

The DK PhotoGroup is getting national attention for this show. It was picked up by Popular Photography in the September 2006 issue, right here. No doubt one of the finest collections of urban photography I've seen. Here's the DK Group photo pool slideshow 500 pics. Give yourself some time.
The Community Action Organization of Erie County is the current owner of the German Roman Catholic Orphan Home. There is no active Housing Court file involving this property. And as of yesterday afternoon it was wide open, still - two years now, as far as I know. The CAO's main office is 70 Harvard Place, Buffalo NY 14209. Nathan Hare is the Executive Director. He can be reached at 716.881.5150 and no, I'm not inviting Nathan to the opening. He should be invited to Housing Court.
Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006faqmy flickr


Anonymous said...

In many other cities, the orphanage building would probably now be occupied by pricey loft apartments, even if it's in what is considered a bad neighborhood.

Growing up in Buffalo, few of us heard our parents threaten us with a trip to the German Roman Catholic Orphanage; if it wasn't "Father Baker's", it wasn't part of the city's popular culture and collective memory.

This is truly one of Buffalo's forgotten ruins; I never even heard of the place until I first read about it in your blog.

Thanks for letting us know about it.

BuffaloRox said...

I hope this helps raise some awareness (or a potential Canadian investor) for this neglected property. It would be cool if CEPA Gallery could arrange a showing.

fixBuffalo said...


Working as I type to make arrangement with Sean at DK PhotoGroup to bring the show to Buffalo. Meeting up with the group in a few days to work things out...CEPA would be excellent, me thinks...and perhaps PresCo sponsorship, too.

Will stay on top of this...it's an extraordinary place. Have you been?

Anonymous said...

have sent to Lawrence at CEPA - great idea - would need to raise some $$ so start brainstorming.

BuffaloRox said...

I came across it by accident a year or two ago while driving to the Museum of Science. I checked out Dodge near GRCO and some of the surrounding streets. Glad that the Flickr link is working again for the interior and exterior shots.

Anonymous said...

fix buffalo and thumper, we would love to bring our work down to Buffalo to exhibit. We have gotten so much from the city, in the way of our art, it would be only right to be able to give back.

And if anything we do can help raise awareness about saving heritage buildings, then that makes it all the better.

With so many other locations around your area, it might be interesting to explore some further collaboration, finding more places that need saving and working together on it.

Thanks again for such a wonderful mention, this is what makes it all worthwhile :)

fixBuffalo said...

Laurin (lopix)...

Between Thumper, moi and a few others we'll find gallery space and really help with promo on this side of the Bridge...see you and Sean next week.



btw...Check out Laurin's work....

Anonymous said...

I have visited this site often and is one of the best pure plays in terms of land I've ever seen in
Buffalo - great location and setting- neighborhood is better than average for the east side but it is still the east side.

Note that St, Martin de Porres is a wonderful community and was created much differently than the average east side church.On the east side it is a schism per minute in the church communities .Arguments and distrust amongst church goers create very small unstable congregations which have difficulty meeting the needs of the congregation, much less the community. St. Matin dePorres was formed as a merger between three R. C. parishes and was succesful. It is unfair to place blame on the parishoners for forming in the way they did keeping the RC tradion alive in what is a very protestan demographic. The Buffalo Diocese also has its hands full with supporting the community with membership that is not as generous to the infrastructure as earlier larger and richer RC legacy in Buffalo. In the meantime, each one of my six children have been in some way touched by RC education in a very positive way, making this Episcopal family very happy. Shame on those cathloic bashers for not seeing the whole picture. -kevin

Anonymous said...

You guys rock! Are you coming along to our next trip there? Guess we can talk about that next week :)

And thanks for the plug for my site!

Check out the rest of the group:
Russell Brohier - http://www.flickr.com/photos/enigmatix1
Sean Galbraith - http://www.smlg.ca/
Steve Jacobs - http://www.manitou80.deviantart.com/
Mathew Merrett - http://www.thephotomat.ca
Jay Morrison - http://www.jaymorrison.com/

fixBuffalo said...


I'm not sure what you mean by the whole picture. Perhaps you'd be interested in having a more complete conversation about local diocesan leadership in these matters.

I've had an exchange with the owner of another church, Transfiguration. Lots of dodging and slight of hand...read the e-mail exchange between moi and Bill Trezevant.

e-mail exchange between moi and local attorney Bill Trezevant. Meanwhile there is an outstanding Housing Court warrant for his mother's arrest. He conveniently put her in corporation's lead position.

Church stripped and flipped Transfiguration to an unqualified buyer. Period. So not righteous. Sorry.

fixBuffalo said...


Thanks for all the links...

Anonymous said...

I was 9 years old when I watched in terror the fire at this orphanage. I remember the children streaming out, led by black robed nuns. I seem to remember flames shooting out of the roof and windows..... but I'm 61 & maybe my memory is compromised. I think this is a great idea to preserve this institution and rehabilitate it. Historically it represents an era that is foundational to the development of Buffalo. My own grandmother was in an orphanage and it might have been this one.
Thanks for building this site.
Dr. Mary Ann Majchrzak Rombach
formerly of 666 Riley St.
Grad of St. Mary Magdalene, 1961
Frequent visitor of Buffalo Museum of Science as a child; and I was sitting in the library when all hell broke out at this orphanage. We all ran to see the fire.