3/19/2008

Choir Lofts?

I've been interested in the whole church re-use dialog for the longest time. They're awesome spaces for what would probably be the most amazing living or work space I could ever imagine. I've looked at a number of these places over the years - Transfiguration - St. Matthew's - and of course the chapel over at the German Roman Catholic Orphan Home on Dodge Street.

While the community focuses on the current diocesan fire sale of so many buildings - there's another entire level of churches that are frequently overlooked here in Buffalo that have nothing to do with Bishop Kmiec - and his Journey to Avoid Housing Court. Most of the them were built by former Protestant and usually German communities. I'll be following the story of two of them, one on Sherman and the other on Spruce Street.
The First German Baptist Church, 1849 - is located at 41 Spruce Street (google map) and remains in good structural condition. It's been vacant for the past two years and as far as I know it's not in Housing Court.

Here a few related pics. The house next door, which is owned by the same group and was probably the mance, is really amazing, it's wide open - as of last week - and would also make for a great project.



The Salem Evengelical Reformed Church, 1907 - is located at 413 Sherman Street (google map) and is in fair structural condition. It's currenly for sale. When I spoke with the agent at Barnes Real Estate Group (716.894.5324) I was told that the church, mance and vacant corner property are bundled together. Asking price is $99,000 yet the seller is open to offers and would consider un-bundling the sale.

I first noticed the Salem church here, in January 2005. The other day I took a few additonal pics.


So, while churches such as Transfiguration plunge further off the radar for possible reuse, some of the smaller places still hold considerable promise. You know, only the adventourous need apply. Could be fun.
__________________________________________________________________________
ArtspaceBAVPAWoodlawn Row Housesmy flickr
the creativity exchangelatest blog comments

3 comments:

George Thomas Apfel said...

The one church that I'm really interested in is right in Artspace's backyard- Our Lady Of Lourdes. I've heard is was sold a couple of years back for $90,000 and currently is owned by Salvatore Patronaggio. A salvage company apparently stripped the interior, it featured marble and quarter-sawn oak throughout. It's not overly large (seats 750) and is a clear-span with no pillars, according the 1898 newspaper article I found describing it. I
wrote about its history on BRO
and will be doing a follow-up story with more details about the neighborhood and people who went to school here.

Anyone heard more about it's current status?

Andrew Kottenstette said...

One re-use of a church that I have seen for myself happened in Pueblo, Colorado in the mid-Eighties. "Off Broadway", an art gallery, was in a church for a while. I'm not too keen on seeing churches stripped of their embellishments, such as was noted with the church mentioned before. Some documentation of it, at least, out to be kept somewhere in case the church was to come back. Another successful re-use of an ecclesiastic building here was in a Presbyterian church (catecorner of St. Patrick's Catholic church) into a fancier restaurant. It is still in operation - "La Renaissance". This is particularly sad to witness, but these building can still retain use for a city's inhabitants with a little creativity. The light in particular lends them to use in art galleries.

Anonymous said...

Ya, I walked right into The First German Baptist Church this afternoon - door was unlocked and completely open!

Here are some pictures (artistic mind you) ... not all, but some are from the church.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnwaller/sets/72157604323318509/

The house next to the property is completely burnt out. (sad). I was able to walk into the house through the back door and by and large it's really not in bad shape. There is a LOT of church goods thrown about, but at least it doesn't look like a crack head haven.

I think a simple gutting of former church goods in the HOUSE would make it almost worth the investment. The church however, has a VERY damaged root on the east side of the building. Water damage from this past winter has ruined the upper floor and if it's not fixed in the next year, the building will need some SERIOUS renovations to about 3 floors of the building.