Wind and 25 Years of Neglect

fixBuffalo readers alerted me this morning to the collapse of the Church of the Sacred Heart's school building's north wall. Compounded by the recent wind storm, 25 years of neglect contributed to the dangerous conditions here on Emslie Street near Clinton (live map). The school building has been collapsing for years, the rectory and convent seem to be in better structural shape than the church.
By early afternoon City crews, aided by the fire department taped off the area and placed plastic barriers around the site. Chris Hawley from the East side's coolest new blog, The Hydraulics posted about the bad news. A quick scan of Housing Court records reveals that the owners have been in court for the past 8 years. Here's that record for the four buildings that comprise this forgotten part of Buffalo's cultural heritage.
IMG_2322 IMG_2318
click image to enlarge
The Church of the Sacred Heart has been a frequent stop on the Tour d'Neglect in recent years. Preservation Buffalo Niagara has additional information about the history of the site - right here. Buffalo's ABC affiliate, wkbw was at the scene today. Here's that report and short video.

While the future of the school building remains uncertain, attention and resources should be focused on the Catholic complex's other three buildings - which are also in Housing Court.
ArtspaceBAVPAWoodlawn Row HousesfixBuffalo flickr
Creative ClassShrinking CitiesSaturdays in the neighborhood


Anonymous said...

Your photo is "currently unavailable," just like any accountability for our inventory of vacant brick buildings.

Anonymous said...

8 years of futility. Another example of systems that do not work.

fixBuffalo said...


Fixed the pic. Thanks.


What's the alternative?

Anonymous said...

I understand church organizations are not typically dealt with harshly by inspections staff. Slum lords are slum lords. Hence a case that dates to 2001 and is unresolved.

Here is an alternative, which has pluses and minuses. A caveat of New York State Municipal Law allows cities to seize properties that are in an abandoned state of condition, much as cities do with property tax foreclosures. The City, to my knowledge, has not exercised that power in this way.

Of course, that would require a concerted strategy by the City to undertake building saviors and re-sells. The City could do it, sure. But they clearly have many abandoned properties without much (yet) concerted strategy to save buildings worth saving, as our trip off Clinton Street yesterday revealed (gorgeous brick Italianate cottage, now a vacant City-owned lot, that was ripe for rehab).

Clockhill said...

An absolute travesty. Here is the beginning of the hollowing out of a completely new neighborhood. First the school bldg comes down, making a gap in the smile. Then the church comes down, leaving us with just one more of many shapeless, formless street corners that make placeless neighborhoods.

Any more walking tour d' neglects planned?

Anonymous said...

The demise of these buildings began 25 years ago when the church pews, doors and wall sconces, etc... were stripped out for a bounty offered by the reseller, the Callous Prince of Niagara Street/Snowflake King of Ellicottville. His sequential stripping of other buildings such as the Niagara/Vermont church and countless houses on East/West side are but a fraction of decades of building and content loss throughout the City and region.

This tragic loss has been enabled by an inept City bureaucracy. Demolition by neglect is the sad ending to community asset looting.

Anonymous said...

That building was empty for more than 25 years. I grew up in that area. It has to be 30-35 years, maybe longer. It would serve the area more if if was torn down and homes were built in the area. If you want to save a Church in this area, save St. Ann's, It was still a school long after the neglect of those buildings!

Anonymous said...

I,m going OFF TOPICish while being very much BUFFALOish:

This fixbuffalo Buffalo, NY site is not very active. I don't know why. It was recommended to me, Crisa, when I was at Buffalo-RisingOnline.

In comparison, BuffaloRisingOnline was very active. But, it is now a new BuffaloRising where I can't get back in with the Crisa account (which, for a reason I don't know, has become invalid).

So I am attempting to rejoin BR as Crisa2. Crisa2 (I don't want to lose my Crisa username)has been in an activation limbo more than a week old and it isn't even lurking in junk mail.

An e-mail from Elena, dated 12/22/08, reads to wait "a day or two" 14 days ago.

BR isn't answering my proceeding e-mails.

How does a person get back into the newest version of BUFFALO RISING where key issues concerning Buffalo,NY are unreachably streaming away? And,,,

I already asked this without replies: Why aren't all Buffalo, NY sites and blogs listing link-ups to each other at their individual sites?

United we f---, but divided we s---- a b----- c----- for f-------- s------; as in ---- old ---- old?

Anonymous said...

By typing f---,I meant united we fail because not only is Buffalo, NY itself divided, but the attached suburbs had for too long felt no attachment to what happens in this City.

While that estrangement is finally diminishing for some of the attached suburbs (as those suburbs are now clamoring to be involved in what is happening in some of this City inorder to save those suburbs,)there remains the eastern parts of this Buffalo (there are other cities named Buffalo--when I type 'this City'or 'this Buffalo' its because I mean this very unique one in NYS.)

Home-owning, live-in older residents both in and outside this Buffalo's borders are trying to understand what happened and is now happening while also trying to understand the Internet.

Younger, home-owning, live-in residents (the younger the better the comprehension of the Internet) are much too busy raising their young and going to jobs away from the 'Net to have the time to get it all together. You who own active and involved sites and blogs as your paying jobs can link those above-mentioned residents of Buffalo,NY together for ALL of what is online about Buffalo, NY...

A while back, I mentioned at BRO that I started CrisaCapades. That blog is privitized now.

On January 3, '09 I started a prairieseast blog.

For now, my main intent is to establish online that naming this region PrairiesEast is my idea and I mean it to include all the suburbs attached to the eastern division of this Buffalo, NY--which are E.Amherst, Cheektowaga, Sloan and W. Seneca-- as the land actually turns into a prairie! I also claim PrairiesEastEstatesWNY.

Joshua D. Hall said...

I'm sure I can speak for most of the City, when I say, "the metro area will be as successful as a thriving city." If people don't value The City and continue to move further and further away, fewer tax dollars will continue to flow into The City. The City will then be devalued. Personally, I value The City, but not everyone does.