Monday, November 30, 2009

Muted Monday - Mirror Lake

You may have seen "Wordless Wednesday" as a heading for a blog post with only photos, but I'm going for a Muted Monday. Its distinguishing features are minimum chit chat with pictures (aka too lazy to write this morning).

At the end of October I was behind the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Museum taking pictures around Mirror Lake. There were all kinds of people around photographing the leaves in full Fall color along with rocks and anything else that came into focus.

Then I went back last weekend after the book sale. Gloomy day, dreary pictures. Only other people I saw were walking a dog.

Maybe it looks better in the snow. Or maybe I'll wait until Spring...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

St. John's Evangelical / Immanuel German Evangelical / Theosophical Society

Skirmishes within churches are nothing new, and the one that occurred at 85 Amherst Street in 1899 was one for the books. St. John's Evangelical Church located was officially organized in 1851, and the present day building was built in 1890 (it appears that something has been chiseled off over the doorways, perhaps by a newer congregation, but I could be wrong).

Shortly thereafter is when things got interesting, to say the least. St. John's had been established by German immigrants and conducted services in German. However by the early 1900's the younger members wanted English language services. Reverend William Von Gerichten did not speak English. A schism soon developed.

The "Boxers" felt that since the pastor didn't speak English he should be paid less. The others disagreed. A meeting was scheduled to discuss the problem. The pastor's group barricaded the doors to keep the Boxers out. The police were called and during the excitement that followed the Boxers climbed in through a window, held the meeting, and voted to dismiss the pastor.

The pastor and his supporters built a new church at 70 Military, corner of Glor, not all that far away from their original house of worship. Architect W. S. Brickell designed the new Immanuel German Evangelical Church which was built in 1904. Four years later Von Gerichten died, and by 1915 English services were introduced.

Today the church building is maintained by the Theosophical Society. Although I had thought it sounded like a new age group, its origins can be traced back to 1875.

From a survey of religious forces conducted in 1910 (using the results of censuses taken in 1890 and 1900):

"A circular, issued for the information of inquirers by the general secretary of the American section, states that the society is unsectarian and interferes with no person's religious belief. Another circular, entitled "An Epitome of Theosophy,"... states that some of the fundamental propositions of Theosophy, or " Wisdom Religion," are:

That the spirit in man is the only real and permanent portion of his being ; that between the spirit and the intellect is a " plane of consciousness in which experiences are noted," and that this spiritual nature is " as susceptible of culture as the body or intellect " ; that spiritual culture is only attainable as the grosser interests and passions of the flesh are subordinate ; that men, systematically trained,may, by their interior faculties, " attain to clear insight into the immaterial, spiritual world " ; that, as a result of this spiritual training, men become able to perform works usually called " miraculous."
Quite a change over the years. Somehow I think those who resisted English a hundred years ago would be astounded.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Concert

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band totally rock! It was my first time seeing the Boss and I wasn't disappointed. I think I have resisted in the past partly because his faithful fans seemed to resemble the followers of the Grateful Dead in their devotion, and I just wasn't there.

The ages of the crowd ranged from those still in the single digits who went with their parents to people who looked to be in their 70's - the young straight through to the young at heart. In fact it came as a bit of a shock to see all those old people out there and realize they're all pretty much the same age as me, and also that of Springsteen and the band.

Always poignant lines from Thunder Road, they mean more as the years go by:
"So you're scared and you're thinking
That maybe we ain't that young anymore...
Personally, I find that a little bit depressing, no matter how truthful it is. Made a bit better by what follows:
Show a little faith there's magic in the night

You ain't a beauty but hey you're alright
Oh and that's alright with me"
Bruce is an inspiration to people everywhere, especially those further along the time line. Heck, he performed for almost 4 hours but yet I was wiped out after just bopping along. Much credit to all of them.

I'll definitely be at the concert the next time Springsteen comes to Buffalo, and I have faith that there will be a next time. After all, he needs the crowds as much as we need him.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Susan Kausner Leckey - RIP

Clarence alumna ('71) Susan Kausner Leckey passed away November 9, 2009 after a short but fierce battle with cancer. Sue lived in Clarence most of her life, first with her siblings and later as a mother. Rest in Peace.

LECKEY - Susan A. (Kausner) July 31, 1952 - November 9, 2009. Beloved wife of Warren F. Leckey, Jr.; cherished mother of Michael J. Kausner, Jason (Amber) Leckey, Krista (Mark) Howe, Jamie, Sara and Jacob Leckey; devoted grandmother of Tyler, Addison, Ethan, Gage and Wyatt; loving daughter of Jeanne R. (McMullen) and the late Wilbert Kausner; dearest sister of Nancy Houston, Robert (Linda), John (Marilyn), James and Joseph (Ellen) Kausner; mother-in-law of Coralysa Kausner. No prior visitation. Friends are invited to attend a Memorial Service Thursday evening (11/12) at 6:30 in Lovejoy Gospel Church, 5423 Genesee St., Lancaster.

Flowers will be accepted or if preferred memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society. Arrangements by BEACH-TUYN FUNERAL HOME INC. Online condolences may be made at

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Christopher Stermole - RIP

Clarence alumnus ('76) Christopher Stermole passed away suddenly Tuesday. Reportedly he had been under the weather with a flu-like illness when he suffered a heart attack.

Friends have mentioned that he enjoyed bowling and also that he played in a band after high school. A crowd favorite was "The Wino song! Play the Wino song!"

Rest in peace.

Oct. 16, 1958—Nov. 17, 2009

Christopher E. Stermole, a fire safety equipment technician at Trost Fire Equipment in Lancaster, died unexpectedly Tuesday in his East Aurora home. He was 51.

Born in Buffalo, he had a lifelong interest in music. He sang baritone in the Chorale at Clarence High School and sang in a barbershop quartet. He also played saxophone, harmonica and guitar and was lead guitarist and singer in a band that he founded.

A sports enthusiast, he played soccer and baseball and was an avid bowler, with two 300 games to his credit. He bowled with a Trost factory team at Transit Lanes.

Surviving are his wife of 14 years, Melissa; his mother, Margaret; two brothers, David and Mark; and three sisters, Karen Waybright, Janis Cantu and Margaret Bertucci.

STERMOLE - Christopher E. Died unexpectedly at home November 17,2009; loving husband of Melissa O. Stermole: beloved son of Margaret Saso Stermole and the late David L. Stermole; dearest brother of David F. (Nadine), Mark (Kathleen), Karen Waybright, Janis Cantu and Margaret (Michael) Bertucci; son-in-law of Martin and Jean Oultan; brother-in-law of Michelle, Martin Jr., Michael, Kevin (Stephanie), and Patrick (Carol) Oultan; also survived by aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and his beloved pets, C. Biscit and Moon Pie.

Family and friends may call Friday 6-9 PM at the KENNETH HOWE FUNERAL HOME, 64 Maple St., East Aurora, NY and are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial Saturday at 12:00 Noon from Immaculate Conception Church, 520 Oakwood Ave., East Aurora, NY. Flowers gratefully declined.

Visit Guest Book

(Obit and notice from the Buffalo News)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

93 Massachusetts

In honor of the conclusion of Extreme Makeover in Buffalo, there is another small church to highlight on Massachusetts Avenue. According to an 1890 NY directory, 93 Massachusetts was originally a saloon, built by John Neeson. He made sure we'd always remember his name, even if we didn't know much else about him.

The building itself has probably had many uses throughout the years, or no use at all as it appears abandoned in this photo from 2004 (borrowed from some unremembered site).

Now the building has new life. It still needs a lot of work, which is being done slowly, as well as a connecting structure at 796 Prospect. Perhaps that was a rooming house at one time.

The congregation of His Dwelling Place now makes its home at 93 Massachusetts. I saw some people peeking out the door last Sunday as the commotion down the street was just beginning, and from a quick glimpse it appeared to have a warm interior in a type of auditorium/large meeting room setting.

It's too bad it fell outside the perimeter of the Extreme Makeover crew, but I don't think sand blasting and brick repointing/repairing companies were on hand. It's something to keep in mind though, as part of Buffalo's history and future.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hutchinson Memorial Chapel

In honor of Extreme Makeover choosing a home on Massachusetts Avenue to rebuild for a very worthy family, today's church will be from the same street, in a stretching it kind of way.

The Episcopal Home pretty much takes up a full block and located at 1 Massachusetts and extends down Busti to Rhode Island and over to Columbus Parkway aka Seventh Street. Connected to it at the corner of Busti and Rhode Island stands the Hutchinson Memorial Chapel of the Holy Innocents.

The chapel was built in 1895 by Edward Hutchinson in honor of his parents. There are stone memorials on either side of the front entry, which are hard to photograph through a chained fence with a point and shoot, but I tried. I even contemplated sliding under a raised portion of the gate but decided that perhaps present day body wouldn't fit. Perhaps.

Side note - Hutchinson Technical High School on South Elmwood is also named after Mr. Hutchinson, as he used to own the land on which it is located.

The chapel is connected to part of the home complex via a cloistered walkway.

The Episcopal Home and Chapel now fall under the category of buildings affected by the Peace Bridge Expansion Project, further explaining all the boarded windows. Allegedly the chapel will be moved and serve as a visitors center. We'll see.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Larry Beck - RIP

Clarence alumnus Larry Beck passed away suddenly October 30, 2009. Younger sister Betty and I were close friends at one time, and I can remember both Larry and Lynn as the older and more sophisticated teens in the house on Goodrich Road. Rest in peace.

BECK - Lawrence P. Of Hamburg, NY, suddenly October 30, 2009. Beloved husband of Sharon (nee Platek) Beck; dearest father of Melissa (Paul) McPherson, Rachel (Thomas) Montgomery and Sarah Beck; loving grandfather of Ryan, Trevor and Brendon; son of Naomi and the late Daniel Beck; brother of Lynn Russell and Betty Spann; son-in-law of Helen and the late Richard Platek; also survived by a large loving family and many dear friends.

The family will be present to receive friends Sunday and Monday form 2-4 and 7-9 PM at the (Hamburg Chapel) JOHN J. KACZOR FUNERAL HOME, INC., 5453 Southwestern Blvd. (corner of Rogers Rd., 646-5555). A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Tuesday morning at 10:00 at SS Peter and Paul Church, East Main St., Hamburg, NY (Please assemble at church).

Mr. Beck served in the 101st Air Cavalry, retired from the US Postal Service and was an avid sailor. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Food Bank of WNY.

Jacob Herbert - RIP

Clarence alumnus ('08) Jacob Herbert was killed in the early hours of October 31, 2009. Rest in peace.

HERBERT - Jacob A. Of Clarence N.Y., suddenly, October 31, 2009. Loving son of Tracey Sullivan and Patrick Herbert, Sr.; beloved brother of Chris and Patrick; also survived by grandparents, great-grandmothers, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Relatives and friends may call Wednesday and Thursday from 4-7 PM at the URBAN BROTHERS FUNERAL HOME INC., 6685 Transit Rd., East Amherst (just south of County and N. French Rds.). A Church Service Friday at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, 9535 Clarence Center Rd., Clarence Center at 10 AM (Please assemble at church).

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Jon Vesper Memorial Scholarship, c/o Clarence High School.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Saints PNC

All Saints Polish National Church is located at 1020 Grant Street. Per Houses of Worship, it was originally part of a larger congregation at Holy Mother of the Rosary on Sobieski Street. Citing distance, a new congregation established their own Polish language church at 189 Grote Street (now residential) in 1929 in order to worship in the area in which they lived.

In 1953 they built the church on Grant Street, and are the only remaining PNC church in the City of Buffalo.

They still hold regular services there, meeting also on Sunday afternoons, which I figured out when photographing the cornerstone.