Reprinted with permission as a public service by the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier, now the Preservation Buffalo Niagara
North Presbyterian Church - 1905
990 Delaware at West Utica (SW)
Architect: George F. Newton
Founded 25 March, 1847
North Presbyterian Church - Table of Contents
In 1846, Asa T. Hopkins of First Presbyterian Church led a meeting in a basement prayer room of the church with the intent of establishing a fourth Presbyterian presence in the city. With the seeds planted, property was acquired on Main Street near Chippewa. The early members selected the name North Presbyterian, due to the location of the property, well north of the downtown core.
In services at the First Presbyterian on 25 March, 1847, forty-three charter members were called from the congregation to form the body of the new church. The following Sunday, services were conducted in the home of Dr. Bissell on Chippewa Street. The congregation continued to meet in either private homes or at First Presbyterian prior to the formal dedication of their place of worship on 29 December, 1847.
Their first building, a substantial sandstone structure with a porticoed front and central tower, was built on the site of the first home of Ebenezer Johnson. Indians had burned the home during an attack some years earlier. They used the original door of the home, complete with tomahawk marks, in the construction ofthe front entrance to the building. Built at a cost of $40,000, the building sat 1,800 people and was known throughout the city for its acoustical properties.
For many years the congregation prospered in its downtown location, twice enlarging the building, in 1862 and 1868. By the turn of the century, with the population decentralizing, membership had decreased significantly. The congregation then elected to relocate to the Delaware Avenue site north of downtown. They sold their Main Street site on 1 January, 1904 to Keith's Entertainment who later passed it the Shea chain for construction of the Hippodrome Theater. The site is now home to Fountain Plaza.
The congregation conducted their last service in the building on 17 April, 1904 and for the ensuing three years utilized various sites for services. From 24 April through 7 May, 1905 they worshipped at the Twentieth Century Club on Delaware, and from 14 May to 6 January, 1906 they worshipped at the old Temple Beth Zion on Delaware (destroyed) prior to moving to the chapel of their building on Delaware at West Utica.
In October, 1904 they broke ground for their new house of worship, placing the cornerstone on 7 July of the following year. They formally dedicated the 800 seat Gothic style building during services on 6 January, 1907. The 3,500 pound bell from their original church is hung in the bell tower.
The congregation remained here until 28 December, 1952 at which time they moved to an Amherst location.