Reprinted with permission as a public service by the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier
St. Gerard's RC Church - 1902
2515 Bailey (E)
Founded 8 March 1902
St. Gerard's RC Church - 1911
Bailey at East Delavan (NE)
Architects: Schmill & Gould
Under the direction of the Diocese of Buffalo, Rev. William J. Schreck established the parish of St. Gerard's to serve the sparsely settled Bailey/Delavan area. He conducted the initial services in the H. Amthor Grocery Store at 1191 East Delavan on 8 June. The store also functioned as the rectory and school in the founding days.
The first church: On land donated by the Gerhard Lang family (of the Lang Brewery), he broke ground for the first combination church/school building on 5 June, 1902. In September, he dedicated the. completed building. During these initial years, the congregation grew slowly. But as the end of the decade approached, membership had increased to the level where they needed a larger place of worship.
The second church: On 24 September, 1911, the members placed the cornerstone of the current building, dedicating it two years later. At this time, a temporary roof was in place at the base of the clerestory as resources would only permit them to build that far. With a new, somewhat imposing building to worship in, a period of significant growth began for the parish.
In late 1930, the congregation desired to complete their church. Workers raised the clerestory of the nave to its present height of 60 feet and added the 110 foot, three stage bell tower. At this time, the Rambusch Decorating Company of New York City directed the redecoration of the interior of church.
Exterior: The building, in the Roman Basilica style, is based on the design of St., Paul's Outside the Walls in Rome, being one-third as large. Constructed of Indiana limestone, the main facade features two niches containing statues of St. Gerard and St. .Joseph. Carved by local sculptor Angelo Gatti, the St. Joseph figure features a miniature of the church at his feet.
Interior: The interior, with its twelve monolithic granite columns, contains fifteen murals depicting the fifteen mysteries of the rosary lining the clerestory of the nave . The arcade of the nave is ringed with twenty-six rondos depicting the Popes and twenty-eight depicting the Blessed Virgin. A coffered ceiling frames the semidome of the apse which features a fresco of The Coronation.