St. Gerard's on Bailey Avenue was inspired by the Basilica of St. Paul's in Rome. Construction started in 1911 and was completed in 1931. Flash forward two generations - the Catholic Diocese closed St. Gerard's in 2008. It's now destined for a new home and will be systematically dismantled, moved 900 miles and reassembled near Atlanta.
With the future of Lourde's on Main Street in doubt and Transfiguration on Sycamore - long a symbol of Catholic disinvestment and neglect by an under capitalized owner - St. Matthew's on East Ferry and an ever increasingly longer list of neighborhood churches abandoned by their parishioners and congregations and other heritage buildings such as the stunning machine age Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company Power House designed by Albert Kahn on Elmwood Avenue - all experiencing demolition by neglect - is this now, moving a heritage structure South, the new preservation alternative? The respective economic futures of Buffalo and Atlanta on so many levels have now - since the construction of St. Gerard's began - been inverted. Are there alternatives to going South - best practices in other cities that are effectively being embraced - that should be adopted here in the Queen City for our remaining heritage sites? Are there ways - currently not being explored - to preserve, in place, our architectural assets?
Could the architects who designed St. Gerard's, the workers who built it and the parishioners who paid for the church ever imagine such a fate? Such sacred structures were made to endure...to last for hundreds of years.