Reprinted with permission as a public service by the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier, now the Preservation Buffalo Niagara
Trinity Episcopal Church - Table of Contents
Trinity Episcopal Church - 1886
389 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY
Architect: Cyrus K. Porter
Founded 12 October, 1836
The second Episcopal church to be established in Buffalo, Trinity Church was organized on 12 October, 1836, in a meeting held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. The charter members, former members of St. Paul's, began worshipping under Rev. Cicero Stephen Hawks, a descendant of Pocahontas, in the former Duffy's Buffalo Theater on the southwest corner of Washington and Swan. While here, they began planning for the construction of their first house of worship. Placing the foundation in 1838, they did not complete the building until 1842.
In October, 1839 they secured the use of the former Universalist Church on Washington Street near South Division, remaining here until moving to a second floor space in the Young Men's Association Building on South Division between Main and Washington in the spring of 1841.
Church on Washington and Mohawk
With their building on Washington and Mohawk Streets partially completed, they celebrated their first service there in December, 1842. On 19 January, 1843 Bishop DeLancy consecrated the completed structure. As the congregation grew, they once enlarged the building in 1847 by adding thirty-five pews and a chancel.
St. John's Episcopal Church founded
A schism arose amongst the members of the congregation in 1846 over the assignment of pews within the building. To further encourage family attendance at services, a number of square pews holding eight or ten people apiece were sold for family occupancy. One such sale displaced a group of bachelors. With Trinity Church unable to accommodate the group within the church, the men left the congregation and established St. John's Episcopal Church, now on Lafayette and Bidwell.
In 1872, the congregation began developing plans for the construction of a new church. They contracted architect H. H. Richardson to provide a suitable design . With plans prepared they began looking for a appropriate site. The purchase of a lot on Delaware near Johnson Park divided the members resulting in the abandonment of the project.
Trinity and Christ merge
In early 1883, the members of the church approached Christ Church on Delaware with the prospect of uniting the two congregations. Since Christ Church was in a poor financial situation, they accepted the offer. Under the terms of the consolidation, Christ Church relinquished control of their Delaware Avenue property consisting of the building lots and the chapel thereon. Trinity agreed to purchase the adjacent lot containing the foundation of the church building placed in 1869 and to construct a 750 seat building on it.
While planning for the construction of the current house of worship, they reconsidered the original plans by Arthur Gilham. Rejecting them as being too costly, they approached Buffalo architect Cyrus K. Porter who redrew Gilman's original plans. They placed the cornerstone of the building on 22 July, 1884 and dedicated the completed house of worship on 25 April, 1888.
Constructed of Medina sandstone, the $l25,000 Gothic edifice is complete as designed except for the $2,.000 tower which was never built.
Stained glass windows
The church is well know for its incredible collection of stained glass windows by John LaFarge, Louis Comfort Tiffany and others. Of particular note are the five windows of the apse by LaFarge and his window titled "The Sealing of the Twelve Tribes," the topic of which is drawn from Revelations 7. The window, originally exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1889, won LaFarge the insignia of the Legion of Honor from the French government.