North Presbyterian Church / Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation - Table of Contents

North Presbyterian Church
146 West Utica Street, Buffalo, NY 14222

Some Buffalo Churches
by Charles E. Illsley, Architect

Reprinted from September 1907 The Inland Architect and News Record, p. 27

There is no more attractive object in a landscape, none on which the eye more loves to dwell and linger than a well-designed and appropriate church edifice, which seems to harmonize with and hallow its surroundings. Such is the new North Presbyterian church on Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, N. Y., George Newton, architect.

The style is late Early English Gothic; the material quarry faced blue limestone ashlar with sawn white limestone quoins, coping, jambs and other trim.

The plan is simple -- a broad, low nave and transepts, a sturdy square tower in front, and, at the other end, a very shallow chancel facing an open court or quadrangle. This is bounded on two other sides by chapel, Sunday school, parlors, study, etc., and on the fourth, or street, side by an arcaded, covered passage from church to chapel.

The grouping is picturesque and apparently convenient. The accessories in modern churches, all of which were unthought of two centuries ago, are now often, as here, fully equal in size to the church itself, sometimes even larger.

The buttressed front tower with its tall, closed belfry and its flat roof, with paneled and crocketed pinnacles at the corners  and delicate traceried stone parapet between, seems in perfect harmony with its surroundings and is attractive from every standpoint. There may be some question, however, as to the durability of the traceried stone parapet in a Buffalo climate and in so exposed a position.

The side windows are low but are supplemented by large slated dormers trimmed with heavy, trefoiled bargeboards. These light the auditorium through deeply cut, rather narrow recesses in the slant ceiling. The general illumination may be ample per square foot, but the unavoidable contrast by day between the glare on the vertical walls of these dormer light-tunnels, so to speak, and the comparatively dull strips of unillumined main ceiling between is a drawback to this otherwise good mode of lighting.

All windows on the street fronts are fitted with stone tracery, instead of the wood tracery so common in this country. This feature alone adds dignity and charm. All openings in stone walls have splayed, molded, sawn-stone jambs and labels. The. rich tracery in the tower window is a mixture of decorated and perpendicular styles -- a dubious innovation. Decorated tracery has its own peculiar grace and so has perpendicular tracery, but they do not harmonize well in the same opening.

The cost of the church was $150,000.

Special thanks for the Rev. Protopresbyter James A. Doukas for his cooperation in 2002.

Photos and their arrangement 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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