Lafayette Presbyterian Church - Table of Contents

Lafayette Presbyterian Church
875 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY

Narrative Description
in the
2009 Nomination for Listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places

Prepared by Jennifer Walkowski, Clinton Brown Company Architecture pc

Table of Contents:



Note: Footnotes intentionally lef off (CL)
1.) Overview
 
Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church dominates a large rectangular lot at 875 Elmwood Avenue, spanning between Lafayette Avenue on the south and St James Place on the north, in the city of Buffalo, Erie County, NY. Elmwood Avenue is a primary north-south thoroughfare between the downtown area of Buffalo and the northern regions of the city. Lafayette Avenue is an east-west artery which also links two traffic circles (Colonial Circle to the west, Gates Circle to the east) created as a part of Frederick Law Olmsted's extensive parkway system in Buffalo. The typical, roughly rectangular lot which measures approximately 265 feet by 200 feet and is situated in a largely residential section of Buffalo that was developed around the turn of the twentieth-century. The immediate area includes numerous moderately sized single-family houses and small commercial properties and is bracketed within the Olmsted Parks and Parkways system (NR 1982) just to the south-west of Delaware Park (NR 1982) and the Forest Lawn Cemetery (NR 1990), south of Bidwell Parkway, and east of Richmond Avenue.
 
The Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church complex is mainly composed of a large cruciform-plan church building (1896) with an attached rear chapel at the north. An adjoining building connects at the north-east of the main building and is known as the Memorial or Community House (1921). While the main church contains several entries along the western and southern elevations, the primary entrance into the church today is through the small connecting block which links the old church building to the Community House and which has direct access to the parking area. The church is approximately two stories in height, with a vaulted first story and a basement level, while the Community House contains three floors and a basement. The church features a tall, square bell tower with a pyramidal roof which measures approximately 120 feet tall and is engaged at the south-west corner of the building. The main church building is constructed in a Romanesque Revival style with coursed rock-faced ashlar Medina sandstone walls on a stone foundation and features a distinctive red terra cotta tile roof with a copper gutter system. The Community House is constructed in the Tudor Revival style with brick walls and carved stone details. There is a small parking lot which is accessed via Lafayette Avenue at the south end of the property and which terminates to the south of the Community House.
 
2.) Exterior Description
 
The 1896 Church Building
 
The original portion of the Lafayette Avenue Church is aligned primarily fronting south on Lafayette Avenue, with a broad elevation which runs along Elmwood Avenue. The entire church rests on an elevated basement level with a beveled watertable and small, simple windows are inserted into the elevated basement where the slope of the ground allows for it, typically towards the north, west and east of the building. The elevations also feature a narrow, continuous stone belt-course which runs at the sill level of the first-floor windows. Where the belt-course meets any windows, it acts as a narrow sill. As is characteristic of the Romanesque Revival style, doorways and windows are round-headed, and typically contain paired windows set into a compound arch surround. The windows are typically separated by round-arched tracery moldings divided by a central simplified Corinthian column (carved wood except where noted) and flanked by two engaged Corinthian quarter-columns. Above the paired windows is a central roundel window. The windows of the old church are typically stained glass composed of simple geometric, non-figural designs. Today they are covered for protection which diminishes the exterior appearance of the windows. The corners of the building feature buttressing, and buttressing is used at the corners of the tower as well, and the cornerstone is located in the south-western corner of the tower. At the top of each buttress is a small gablet element. A diminutive, simple bracket detail runs beneath the eaves of the gables, and a blind arcade which resembles a cornice runs beneath the eaves along other horizontal portions.
 
The primary south elevation of the original church is comprised of a two-story gable end with the bell tower located engaged into the fašade at the west corner. Centered in the gable is an entry door which is reached by a small stair and a round-headed window at its right. The modern doubled doors are set in a square-headed frame with a stained-glass multi-light transom panel above. Above the rectangular transom is an additional round-headed stained-glass window element which is composed of two half-circles and one full circular window. A large stained-glass window group is located on this fašade to the east of the central doorway; it is a typical round-headed window as mentioned above. Another arched stained-glass window pair is also located on the west side of the entry door and is centered in the shaft of the tower. Centered above the door on the south fašade is a series of three individual arcaded windows. These narrow round-headed windows are a similar design as the larger first story windows but are of a smaller scale.
 
The long west elevation which faces along Elmwood Avenue contains two large one-story gable ends towards the northern end of the fašade with a one-story rectangular projecting entry pavilion centered between them. To the south of the gable ends are three round-headed window groups, divided by two buttresses, topped with gablets which interrupt the cornice line. At the southern corner of the western fašade is located the bell tower. Each of the gabled portions of the fašade features three tall, narrow stained glass window pairs set in a compound arched enframement. Each of these windows is in a similar style to those found elsewhere on the building, except they are taller and narrower than those found on the south fašade. The gable end, which is located towards the center of the fašade, is a transept for the cruciform plan church, while the gable end at the north indicates the original Chapel area. The projecting entry pavilion acts as a primary entry from Elmwood Avenue into the church (today it is used chiefly as the entry into the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen), and it has a symmetrical appearance. It is fronted by a slightly raised outdoor terrace which is bounded by Medina sandstone walls that project from the base of the pavilion. Centered on the pavilion is a wood doubled door entrance (likely original, not a replacement) with a stained-glass transom topped by a half-round stained glass tympanum window above. The doors are separated by a large carved wood Corinthian-inspired column, and the entire unit is slightly recessed into a typical compound arched opening. The door is flanked by a pair of narrow stained-glass windows on either side. These window pairs are each divided by a stone column with a Corinthian capital. The voussoirs of the windows and those used above the round-headed door opening form a continuous arcade, springing from the same level. Above the arcade is a carved band of molding which forms a base for a band of the blind arcade detail which acts as a parapet for the flat-roofed pavilion. With corner buttressing and gablets, the pavilion also features two additional gablets, which are evenly spaced along the front of the parapet. Centered above the one-story pavilion on the wall of the main church building is a gabled, steeply pitched wall dormer which contains an additional narrow stained glass window pair.
 
The rear (north) elevation of the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church is very modest in its design compared to the south and western facades. There is none of the decorative belt-coursing, stained glass windows or other details which appear on the more primary facades. Due to the slope of the land, the basement level appears to be raised higher from the ground than elsewhere in the fašade, and the basement features five windows, with four grouped towards the east and one separated off to the west. The first floor features five rectangular, six-light fixed windows which are regularly spaced but are not centered on the fašade; they are shifted to the east slightly to accommodate the flue for a fireplace which is evidenced by a brick chimney that emerges from the tile roof. Each window has a small Medina sandstone sill and larger sandstone header. The bracketed molding beneath the eaves is present, and this is the only decorative element on the rather austere elevation.
 
The east fašade of the building is slightly more detailed than the north fašade, but it is also not as ornate as those on the south or western sides. One of the key features of the eastern elevation is another projecting steeply pitched gabled end which is a transept for the church. Like the corresponding transept on the western fašade, this also contains a group of three stained glass window pairs. A modern brick rectilinear pavilion has been added to the base of this gabled end, which serves as a covered entry into a business located in the basement. To the south of the transept is a portion of wall which contains three typical stained glass window pairs, three buttresses with projecting gablets, and as found elsewhere on the building, bands of belt-course and blind arcaded molding run along this portion. To the northern end of the fašade at the northernmost corner of the transept, the Community House addition has been connected. Beyond the connecting wing of the Community House, the northern most corner of the original church building contains what originally had been three paired windows, comparable to those on the corresponding gable end on the western fašade. Today however these windows on the east fašade have been dramatically altered; the lower level has been replaced with modern windows while the upper portion has now been infilled with brick. These changes were made following the construction of the church.
 
The tower is a notable architectural element. This square plan, four-story bell tower is an identifiable feature that locates the church in the midst of suburban development. The tower features similar architectural detailing as the exterior walls of the church itself; the first-story raised basement and watertable, corner buttressing, a first-story belt-course, and carved molding are all continuous with those elements on the building facades. The tower features a doubled doorway entry on the west face which is similar in design to the arched doorway on the south fašade of the main building. This doorway includes similar stained-glass features and has copper-clad doors. A typical round-headed window feature is located on the first-floor on the south face of the tower. Above this first story is a prominent cornice which features gablets at each end of the visible facades. The second story of the tower is blank Medina sandstone walls. The third level of the tower features a slightly set-back block which contains two narrow round-headed windows (originally stained glass, but now covered with a dark protective materials) on each of the four sides, with a band of blind arcaded molding and gablets acting as a parapet for this level. A small stone spire topped with a small decorative finial marks each corner where the gablets intersect. Each side of the fourth story of the tower features paired round-headed compound arch voids which are open to allow for the use of a church bell; however there is no church bell present within the tower today. Topping the tower is a straight-sided pyramidal roof which rests on a band of the small bracketed molding and a copper gutter and which is clad in the same terra cotta tiles as the main church. The pinnacle of the tower is a small round finial of terra cotta.
 
The Community House
 
Contrasting with the Romanesque Revival style original church building of 1896, the 1921 Community House of a generation later is constructed of brick in the Tudor Revival style. The three-story cross gabled building sits on an elevated basement level which features a beveled watertable, elaborate stone door and window surrounds, multi-paned casement windows which are typically grouped in multiples, steeply pitched parapeted gables, and a red terra cotta tile roof. The gabled ends are typically ornamented with buttressing details at the top which feature a small stone decorative panel, and curled volutes at the corners of each gable. Each gable is topped by a parapet of stone molding which contains tabbed molding which slightly resembles a stepped gable profile.
 
The south fašade of the small building features the primary entrance which is used to access the church building from the parking area. Perhaps the two most dominant elements on this fašade are the large window group on the gable end and the entry door. The entry door is typical of the Tudor Revival style; set in a stone enframement with tabbed details which seem to act almost as quoins, the main entry door features a segmental arched door head, cast stone decorative floral motifs, and a tablet inscribed with "They Have Not Died in Vain," all topped by a label molding. The current door is a modern steel replacement, and it is surrounded by two small sidelights and a transom above which were inserted in order to fill the void left by the original paired wood doors. The large window group featured on the first and second floors of the gable end are also in keeping with the Tudor Revival. Measuring five windows in width, this large window group is surrounded by stone tabbed molding, and features a spandrel panel with decorative shield motifs located at the floor level between the first and second stories. The expansive height of the windows on the upper portion of this window group indicates the presence of the gymnasium which features a high ceiling. Each individual window features numerous small panes, and some retain a central stained-glass crest or shield-like medallion. Surmounting the prominent window group is a cast stone shield motif, which resembles the type of heraldic crests used by the Elizabethan nobility in the sixteenth-century. In the gable is a narrow window which draws from archer windows in medieval castles. To the west of the projecting gable end are three other sets of similar multi-paned windows grouped together with a tabbed molding surround (located on the upper level above the entry door) and with a simple sill and wide header (on the first and upper floors to the west of the entry door). The upper level windows are divided by another spandrel panel which features a similar but simplified geometric patterning; these spandrel panels indicate a separation of floor levels between the second and third floors.
 
The north fašade faces onto residential St. James Place with an additional entry into the building. Here the Community House addition features a central slightly projecting gabled bay which contains a large window group almost identical to that found on the south fašade, including the shield crest, which sits above two basement windows. The peak of the gable features another slot window. Flanking the projecting bay is a paired window group with simple stone sill and header on both the basement, first and upper levels. To the west of the addition is an additional entry door which matches that on the south elevation, here reading "Ministering in His Name." This entry features the original, segmental-arched wood doors which would originally have been featured on the main entry on the south. Located in a recess created between the original church and the addition of the Community House are other windows which resemble those on the main south fašade; they are grouped in multiple windows with simplified sills with brick headers and are divided by spandrel panels between the second and third floors.
 
Remarkable details on the west elevation of the Community House include an additional heraldic shield located near the peak of the side gable. This elevation also includes several windows which are simpler and less decorative than those previously described. The east elevation is difficult to view due to the building's close proximity to a residence on St. James Place. It contains several windows set into a wall which features slightly raised piers indicative of an internal steel skeleton for the building. The most visible section of the east fašade is the gable end which uniquely features an elaborated chimney and chimney pots which grows from the peak of the gable.
 
3.) Interior Description
 
The 1896 Church- Basement
 
The basement level of the original church building contains commodious rooms that originally functioned as social and dining rooms under the former chapel and now are home to the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen and storage spaces. Within the undercroft of the sanctuary are new modern circa-1960 classrooms for an expanded Sunday School. Originally left unfinished, the undercroft beneath the church auditorium was dramatically overhauled in the 1960s to the designs of Duane Lyman and Associates who added modern materials such as vinyl floor tiles, dropped ceilings, fluorescent lighting fixtures, enamel-based wall paints and other modern finishes. Overall, the basement level of the Church is unremarkable with the exception of a few key spaces that retain some of their original appearance despite the modern renovations. These key areas were originally designed and constructed in 1896 and include the Reception Hall, Dining Room and Parlor Spaces (to the north of the basement).

The basement is entered primarily via the Elmwood Avenue entranceway on the west of the building, which opens into a small entry vestibule. This entryway is a landing with a run of stairs which goes up to the first floor and a run which goes into the basement. Notable features of the entryway are an oak and glass internal vestibule, original stained glass windows which showcase abstracted geometric forms in shades of browns, golds and greens, and paneled wainscot which was likely originally finished in a natural wood tone but has now been painted a solid white. The grand stairway lands in a square Reception Hall centered on a cast-iron column with a decorative Ionic capital. Although the finishes in this space include modern acoustic ceiling tiles, vinyl tile flooring and commercial enamel paint, this column suggests the original elegance of the space. The Parlor adjoins the Reception Hall to the north. This remodeled space still contains several distinguishing original elements, including its north wall with a massive fireplace (now painted over and non-functional) with a paneled surround and several carved Ionic columns. Five pairs of small 1890s opalescent stained glass windows, with simple geometric and herringbone patterning in shades of green and brown, light the Parlor. Two Ionic cast iron columns mark the centerline. East of the Parlor separated by modern accordion partition walls lies the Dining Room. Six pairs of the opalescent stained-glass windows (in deteriorated and poor condition) light the Dining room, and it contains four cast-iron columns, which have been stripped of their Ionic capitals. Adjacent to the Dining Room is the Kitchen, which was substantially altered and modernized in the 1960s.
 
The 1896 Church- First Floor
 
The first floor of the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church contains the main worship areas used by the congregation historically and currently. While there are many modern materials in secondary spaces, the first floor is generally intact in large part. The primary and axial entry for the auditorium of the church is via the southern Lafayette Avenue entrance, which opens into a long, narrow narthex. The narthex is finished with a diamond-pattern wood inlay floor, darkly stained oak paneled wainscot, a wood stairway to the east (which leads to the upper balcony), and contains a wood-paneled and windowed (but likely not original) entry vestibule. This space features two pairs of the 1926 stained glass windows, demonstrating the delicately colored pinks, blues and creams and the Classical-inspired details such as acanthus leaf fronds, urns and rectangular geometric patterning which is typical of all the replacement stained glass windows. To the west in this space is featured the original Hutchings organ console, which is displayed under glass.
 
The church nave is intended to be entered through one of three doors from the narthex at the south wall. It is a cruciform shaped interior volume under a high, vaulted ceiling and measuring approximately 118 feet long by 90 feet wide at the transepts. Cork flooring lies beneath the two rows of quarter-sawn oak pews with carpeting in the center and side aisles. The pews are arranged in four rows with two wider rows on opposite sides of the center aisle. Pews in the transepts of the church face east-west rather than the north-south arrangement of those in the nave. The ornately carved oak Gothic Revival style baptismal font is located in the center aisle. The communion table is located at the front center of the church, directly in front of the chancel.
 
The chancel of the church is the focus of not only the church service but of the architecture of the room. It features an elevated platform surrounded by an oak balustrade of solid panels beneath a round-headed arcade. At the west corner of the chancel platform is a square pulpit with an oriel-type front projection. This is constructed of oak with dentil molding details. To the east corner is a simple oak lectern used for readings. A center stair leads to the choir and organ areas which are surrounded by a high oak paneled wall. The chancel is framed by a soaring, Palladian-inspired barrel vault with two large smooth-shafted columns with Ionic capitals that rise from the chancel platform. To the outside of the two columns is a pilaster with a capital of decorative acanthus leaf molding. These columns and pilasters support a broken entablature molding from which springs the large central arch above the platform. Above the oak paneled wall portion, the chancel walls contain two pilasters with Ionic capitals and several other simple pilasters, and the northernmost wall of the chancel features decorative cast-iron grill work panels which conceal the organ pipes. A central feature which is located at the center of the grill work panels is a simple, gold-colored Presbyterian cross.
 
With the exception of the chancel, the remainder of the auditorium is rather simply decorated. Flanking each side of the chancel is a doubled wood door with a round-headed wood transom above. The walls of the church contain oak wainscot paneling, above which is painted plaster wall. The walls are colored a soft pink with mauve colored accents on the moldings. The auditorium itself is free of columns or other elements, providing an open, uninterrupted interior volume. The ceiling is a unique ribbed elliptical vault, which springs from the partially groin-vaulted window bays of the west and eastern walls. The pendentives support curved ribs which in turn support a continuous entablature molding. The overall effect of the vaulting creates a gentle, smooth, harmonious interior space. From the ceiling are suspended two rows of brass-finished chandeliers which were added in the 1920s.
The west and east walls also feature several pairs of the 1920s-era stained glass windows, each window set into an ornate carved oak frame which features an elegant carved Corinthian column at its center. The central window of the west transept is the Heacock Memorial Window, which is an original 1890s opalescent glass figural window, depicting the Ascension. In contrast to the pale colors of the newer windows, this window is bold and bright shades of blue, red and green. Located on the northern wall of the western transept is the Heacock Memorial Tablet which was originally located in the Lafayette Square church building and relocated in the 1890s. It is an inscribed and carved Gothic Revival style brownish-colored stone tablet. In the opposite transept at the east is another memorial window, commemorating Albert and Henrietta Zeigle. These Romanesque-style stained glass windows depict the Prodigal son. Again, the color scheme of this window is bold and brightly colored reds, blues and greens and contrasts with the pale 1926 windows which flank it on each side. Notably, these two memorial windows are the only biblical images or scenes in the church nave.
 
To the south of the nave is located a second story balcony above the narthex. Supported by an arcade of five rounded arches with carved oak Corinthian columns, this small balcony contains three rows of additional pews for seating. This elliptical barrel vaulted space features a continuation of the entablature molding, above which is a group of three stained glass 1920s windows.
 
To the north of the nave, across a wide corridor, is the former Chapel area that originally contained a large space subdivided into a parlor, study, pastor's office and library. It has been altered and divided over the years, and now holds three classrooms (used by the nursery school) and a small circa-1960 worship chapel. Like the basement rooms, these areas contain modern materials including vinyl tile flooring, enamel paint, modern shelving units and acoustic ceiling treatments and contain recent panels which infill original wall openings between the classrooms and the hallway. The small chapel features a gabled ceiling with narrow wood beams, tan painted gypsum board walls above a simple wood wainscot and a small chancel platform at the northern wall. This platform contains a wood balustrade, communion table, and features a central projecting bay on the north wall, which frames a simple cross.
 
The 1896 Church- Second Floor
 
The second floor of the church contains a few small secondary spaces which were primarily added in the 1926 addition (these will be discussed in the Community House section) as well as accommodates the vaulted ceiling of the first floor nave. The second floor also contains the balcony of the auditorium, which has already been discussed. The only original second floor area of note in the original church building is a balcony and the attic space above the classrooms and chapel at the north. Accessed via a small, winding staircase that is concealed within the westernmost classroom, this original balcony gives some evidence to the original appearance and design of the north Chapel area. This narrow, rectilinear balcony along the western wall is of oak wood with a simple oak parapet wall to the east. From the balcony, one can see the upper portion of the dropped ceiling of the nursery school rooms below it as well as the peaked gable of the 1960s-era chapel below, which take up half of the total height of the original interior space. On the balcony one gets a close-up view of original paired opalescent stained glass windows which were used throughout the church. The three pairs of windows feature geometric lozenge and diamond patterns with abstract curlicue type patterns in the rounded portions. The roundel window above each pair is an abstract diamond and starburst design.
 
Perhaps the most dramatic part of the upper attic is the view of the original hammerbeam vaulting which is completely hidden from the lower rooms. These massive oak trusses support a ceiling which is vaulted in a hexagonal type of manner. Each truss features a series of round headed arches and decorative bracketing. These trusses indicate the original orientation of the north chapel was in an east-west manner (rather than the division of north-south spaces as it is today) and it gives strong evidence that this area was originally one large volume, undivided by interior partitions.
 
 
The Community House- Basement
 
The basement of the Community House is accessed in two areas; the entry door on the south side which opens from the parking lot and also through a small entry vestibule which is located on the north-western wall of the building. The main entry stair leads into the room once used as the bowling alley (now storage), and to other service spaces (including a laundry room and storage). The other stair leads to the spaces used by Boy Scout Troop 2 including a "log cabin" and offices. Each of these entry areas is generally utilitarian in nature and contain metal staircases with rubber treads, simple handrails and other modern materials.
 
Rooms in the basement of the Community House demonstrate the addition's purpose as a place for recreation, meetings, entertainment and other youth- and family-oriented functions. The log cabin (located at the western side of the basement) is literally a full-scale construction of rough-hewn half logs with bark, which are nailed to a balloon-framing wall both inside and outside, creating the effect of a real free-standing log cabin clubhouse. Constructed in the 1920s by Boy Scout Troop 2, the inside room of the log cabin features a false fireplace, rustic metal light fixtures, and several wood benches.
 
Located on the eastern side of the basement is a space which originally served as the bowling alley. Today this long, narrow room has been altered and no longer bears many traces of its former function. The four original lanes have been replaced with indoor-outdoor carpeting in large part, although some portions of the original narrow-wood plank flooring remains to the south of the space which may indicate the presence of more of the wood flooring beneath the carpeting. Orange brick walls are present on the south, eastern and northern walls of the space, with a partition wall (behind which is the log cabin) to the west. The space is now divided into several smaller storage spaces at the southern end of the room, which have been built directly on top of the tiered flooring which served as seating in the bowling alley. The north portion retains a small room that housed the ball return in the alley.
 
The Community House- First Floor
 
A majority of the rooms on the first floor are dedicated to meeting spaces, parlors and offices for use by the church historically and today. Entered via the south parking lot entrance and up a flight of stairs into the lobby, the first floor of the Community House generally includes wood flooring and white-painted plaster walls andceilings. Original wood moldings at the baseboard, chair rail, and around doors and windows remain in good condition. Many of the doors are oak with multi-paned glass windows divided by metal muntins which highlight the Tudor Revival/Medieval styling of the building. Windows in this area of the building are also Tudor-inspired, with thick oak moldings and sills and a similar multi-light division as the doors.
 
The lobby of the Community House is among the most decorative areas in the entire addition. It compliments the building's Tudor Revival style with a dark red glazed tile floor, segmental arched openings and dark wood beamed ceiling. To the north of the lobby is a raised red tile stair landing that features an antique sofa and a memorial tablet dedicated to those of the congregation who perished in World War I and to whom the building is dedicated. A run of stairs to the upper floors is to the west of this platform, entered beneath a segmental archway. Cut out of the wall which divides the stair from the lobby and hallway is a triangular void that is filled with a wood panel that is punched with a vaguely Gothic-inspired detail.
 
On a small corridor to the west of the entrance lobby, the main office is located in the small connecting block which unites the Community House to the original church. This office features windows on the east that overlook the entrance vestibule and one to the south that faces the parking area. The office's northern wall contains two large windows of the Tudor Revival style as mentioned previously which allows for a sense of openness and light in both the corridor and the office.
 
Other rooms, which are similarly appointed, include the Library, named the Emerson Room, to the south, the Social Room to the east, a kitchen at the northeast and a large room named the Robertson Room to the north. All of these rooms line a double loaded corridor, just to the west of center. Along the western wall are located the current pastor's private office as well as one for an assistant. These rooms typically contain wood flooring (with assorted area rugs), wood baseboard molding, a wood chair rail (occasionally, as in the Social Room, modern 1970s era photogravure paneling with a wood grain pattern is inserted as a wainscot), and typical Tudor-inspired windows and doors. Both the pastor's office and the assistant's office feature dropped acoustic tile ceilings which partially block the exterior windows. The Emerson Room contains a fireplace on the eastern wall which is brick with an oak surround. The Robertson Room contains a fireplace also on its eastern wall, which is of brick and plaster. The Kitchen contains original 1920s wood (likely oak) cabinetry and cupboards along its south wall.
 
The Community House- Second Floor
 
Like the basement, the second floor was used to house recreational activities. The most prominent space on this floor is the large gymnasium which takes up nearly the entire floor. Two small locker rooms which contain their original oak trims, lockers and stalls are located in what is actually space reclaimed from the original church, located up in the vault near the east of the chancel.
 
The gymnasium is oriented in a north-south direction with a small stage area located along the north wall and measures approximately 54 feet in length by 48 feet in width. The large room features a wood floor, marked with various lines for games like basketball, and exposed brick walls. The brick is laid in decorative patterns with an overall field of stretcher bond brick, rows of header bond brick which act almost as pilasters, courses of shiner-laid bricks at the floor (as a sort of baseboard), at the top of the wall (acting as a sort of crown molding) and as a sort of chair rail. This creates a series of rectangular areas at the bottom third which resemble wainscot and this effect is heightened by a central diamond-shaped brick design which is inserted into each area. The room is surrounded by windows with six Tudor-inspired windows on the west and east walls and large windows to the north and south. These windows contain multiple small panes of glass and some contain traces of stained glass medallions and crests which were featured at the center of the windows, notable on those in the large window groups on the north and south. Currently the windows are covered with iron grates to protect them from impact during sporting activities. The ceiling of the space is a slightly arched barrel vault, which is decorated with a myriad of modeled plaster elements such as molding, ribs and decorative surrounds for the ceiling mounted light fixtures. While much of this plaster work is missing, collapsing and in poor repair due to water damage, it appears to largely have been designed in a fluted pattern with small floral medallions inserted. The plaster work ribs on the ceiling are more ornate, featuring patterns of numerous medallions with flower and leaves.
 
The proscenium of the raised stage at the north of the gymnasium is framed in oak trim. A notable feature located above the stage is a molded plaster heraldic shield element that recalls similar stone elements on the building exterior. Accessed via two small staircases which are concealed behind small angled brick walls with oak door jambs that flank each side, the stage area itself measures approximately 20 feet deep by 48 feet wide. A large window is located at the north wall of the stage and features a tabbed brick surround which stands out from the plaster wall treatment of the stage areas. At the south end of the room, a non-descript film projection booth is discretely suspended from the ceiling. From here, contemporary films were projected over the heads of the seated audience who would have watched a screen suspended within a Tudor-styled proscenium.
 
The Community House- Third Floor
 
The small third floor is accessed by a single, narrow flight of stairs from the second floor, and features three rooms now used as Youth Rooms. This suite of rooms may have been used as an apartment by the sexton and had previously served as a pastor's office. These rooms are located directly above the locker rooms and storage rooms of the second floor, straddling the old church building and the new addition. Each room features original wood moldings, area rugs over hardwood floors, plaster walls and acoustic ceiling tiles. Notable features are the two large window and door sets which open from the hallway to the Youth Room at the north; these oak-framed groups feature a central oak raised-panel door flanked by windows. A transom light runs across the window and door group, uniting the elements together. In the room to the west a notable feature is a large skylight window with textural glass panes.


Page by Chuck LaChiusa in 2009
| ...Home Page ...| ..Buffalo Architecture Index...| ..Buffalo History Index... |.....E-Mail ...| .

web site consulting by ingenious, inc.