Reprinted with permission as a public service by the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier, now the Preservation Buffalo Niagara
SAINT ADALBERT'S ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH - 1890
Stanislaus at Rother (NE)
Architect: R. Huber & Company
Founded September, 1886
The second parish established out of St. Stanislaus Church on Peckham Street, St. Adalbert's came into being at the request of a group of Polish immigrants who were unhappy with the crowded conditions existing within the church. The group petitioned Bishop Stephen Ryan for permission to establish another Polish parish in the area and with permission granted, Rev. Anthony Klawiter, the first pastor, purchased twenty-seven lots at Stanislaus at Rother. The new parishioners themselves erected a small frame building there. Known as "A Little Chapel," thebuilding served as both church and school. They celebrated their first mass there on 12 September, 1886.
The members of the congregation realized that their chapel would not be large enough even before they had finished building it. As a result, they acquired an additional thirty-seven lots and on 8 September, 1886 broke ground for a combination building containing a 900 seat sanctuary. The congregation conducted their final service in the chapel on 10 April, 1887 and dedicated their new building on 24 April.
In planning for future growth, Rev. Klawiter purchased an additional sixty-seven lots bordering the current church property, some of which he later sold. He had a vision of creating a park, a home for the aged and an immigration house within this property. A fire on 26 January, 1889 destroyed the recently completed church and resulted in the abandonment of the master plan.
As the attitude of the parishioners toward Rev. Klawiter had deteriorated, he resigned his position on 11 December, 1889 leaving the parish with no pastor and no church. On 12 March, 1890 Rev. Martin Mozejewski was placed in charge of the affairs of the parish. During his brief stay, he arranged for theconstruction of a new house of worship. Rev. Mozejewski soon departed due to bad health and ill feelings among the parishioners. With the arrival of Rev. Anthony Lex, the plans by the R. Huber Company for a Byzantine church were abandoned infavor of the Romanesque Basilica now on the property. Infighting amongst the parishioners made Rev. Lex's duties difficult. But with much perseverance, he brought the new house of worship to completion and with Bishop Ryan, dedicated it on 12 July, 1891.
After a succession of pastors, Rev. Thomas Flaczek began the demanding task of running the parish. A group of unhappy members, who later went on to establish Holy Mother of the Rosary Polish National Church on Sobieski Street, made his initial days as pastor unbearable. Upon his arrival on 10 March, 1895 this group welcomed him by removing the doors and windows from the rectory. He took refuge at St. Stanislaus, attending to the affairs of the parish from there. With their departure in July,1895, order returned to the parish.
The Romanesque Basilica, measuring 240 feet long, 70 feet wide nave and 118 feet transept is one of the largest religious buildings in the city. It contains a 40 foot diameter dome at the crossing which soars 125 feet above the floor of the nave.The murals in the church, completed in 1924 after one year of work, are by the local ecclesiastical painter Josef Mazur. TheStations of the Cross, imported from Germany, are a composite of carved wood and paper mache. Standing three feet in height the realistic figures are carved in the round.
© 1995 James Napora
Page by Chuck LaChiusa with the assistance of David Torke
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