Reprinted with permission as a public service by the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier, now the Preservation Buffalo Niagara
Plymouth Methodist Church - Table of Contents
Plymouth Methodist Church - 1911
Plymouth at Jersey (NE)
Architect: Cyrus K. Porter
Founded 4 September, 1854
In 1850, William Day, a prominent Buffalo resident, donated a lot on Ninth Street (Prospect Avenue) near Maryland Street to the Buffalo Methodist Union with the intent of having a mission established on the site. Four years later, a meeting was held at the Niagara Street Methodist Church on Niagara and Pearl(destroyed) with the intent of organizing a congregation. Later that year the congregation, known as the Ninth Street and Cold Spring Mission erected a frame building on the lot.
In 1857, Jesse Ketchum of Westminster Presbyterian Church, donated a building and lot on Jersey and North Streets to thec ongregation for use as a Sunday School. (This later became the location of the State Normal School.) In 1859 the congregation, now known as the North Street Methodist Church, moved their original building to this lot. They used it until the completion of the Jersey Street Church, at which time it became a chapel and Sunday School room.
Nine years later, having outgrown this building, they purchased land on the northwest corner of Jersey and Plymouth, constructed a new building and changed the name to the Jersey Street Methodist Church. On 23 January, 1873, a fire destroyed this building forcing them to once again utilized their former North Street building as well the Public School No. 32 on Days Park.
The following year, they elected to purchase the triangular lot on which the present church stands, owing to its higher visibility. The congregation constructed a substantial brick building and became known as the Plymouth Methodist Church. Continuing to prosper as the neighborhood developed, they enlarged their building in 1889.
By 1910, the congregation had once again outgrown the buildingand began planning for the construction of the present house of worship. They placed the cornerstone the following year and formally dedicated their $100,000 house of worship in 1912 After remaining here for over 50 years, the congregationcelebrated its last service on Thanksgiving Sunday, 1968.
The 2,000 seat Romanesque building is prominently sited on the triangular corner of Jersey, Porter and Plymouth Streets. The lantern, visible from the exterior originally lit the glass domed ceiling of the circular auditorium. This, along with the Lamb of God Window and the Christ in the Temple window, were executed by the Hastings Art Glass Company of Rochester, New York. The latter two windows are excellent examples of the narrative content of ecclesiastical art glass.
The building is currently being renovated as the Karpeles Manuscript Library, one of seven such museums in the U. S.