Sunday, January 31, 2010

Nottingham Terrace

By the time I finally decided to brave the cold and get out of the house it was close to noon. The thought of the congestion at Wegman's as the afternoon goes on does have a way of forcing me out the door. Anyway, after three store stops I was going to go by Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park and try out my new camera, something that I had penciled in for 7am daybreak that never happened.

Anyway, as I was driving down Elmwood I had a brain glitch and turned left on the street in front of the History Museum instead of the Art Gallery. Even though I had been planning on dropping off the groceries before doing some genealogy research at the museum, I decided to stop there before I moved that task to the "should have" list.

Nice picture taking opportunities are in the neighborhood too, and since kid1 is finally showing an appreciation for Buffalo architecture after years of studying the basic facts in high school, I thought I'd help out a bit with her latest project. Good excuse anyway.

Rather than do the research in which hours can fly by rather quickly, I opted to take a stroll down Nottingham Terrace first. I only made it down the street about 10 houses before a chill set in and I decided to go back, taking pictures the whole way until my fingers about froze off - no gloves for me, I'm from Buffalo!

Once as I was snapping away I thought I heard someone tapping on a window, but I looked around and didn't see anyone shaking their finger at me, so I figured it was a woodpecker or something and carried on. Hoped no one thought I was casing the joint.

Anyway, those who aren't familiar with the city of Buffalo may spend too much much time listening to or reading from those ignorant souls who dismiss the city as one tumble down ghetto. Please don't - they don't have a clue what they're talking about (and don't care either, I imagine). Gorgeous homes abound in every section of the city, and the ones around here are on the top of many "must see" lists.

Trees kept getting in the shots...

...and one had foliage all around it, but I managed - autofocus is good for things like sticking the camera over ones head and hoping for the best.

Notice how the main entrance to this one is on the side...

I think a lot of them are like that, but I didn't really check it out.

This one holds a special memory for me though - or at least I think it was this one. Made the biggest visual impression at any rate:

Way back when I was in girl scouts we had taken a trip to the History Museum. The drivers had just dropped us off and were supposed to pick us up later. Don't know if they got distracted or it was assumed the building was open later than it actually was, but we ended up booted from the museum at closing time with no ride in sight. No cell phones either, of course.

It was very, very cold. After freezing solid, a small band of us decided to knock on doors and see if someone would let us in to warm up. Being kids had more to do with this school of thought than being from a rural area. Heck, in the real way out there areas people just leave their doors open. Anyway, we trudged from house to house, knocking on doors and being ignored.

Finally some residents felt sorry for us sniffling kids and let us into the entryway for a few minutes as they scurried around putting on jewelry and cuff links for a night out. As we worked on warming up we soon forgot about the cold as we looked around, vaulted ceilings and everything. Wow. Soon we were back at the museum getting yelled at, but it I never forgot it.

Nowadays I live fairly close by, but a world apart. Close enough to mosey by on a whim however! So if the people in these beautiful homes see a woman taking pictures of their houses, maybe with a teenager or 2 along side, its just me.

I won't be knocking on any doors though :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

St. Mary's on the Hill (Pt. 2)

West Coast Perspective wrote an article about St. Mary's on the Hill today on Buffalo Rising and used a few pictures that I took last fall :) Here's another one that I used on a Wordless Wednesday prior to writing about it last December:

Apparently Sam Savarino wants to buy it and has some beautiful plans drawn up. The owner seems to be playing games though. Read the article for more.

Anyway, about the property at 783 Niagara Street: a few fast facts, first from the Erie County Real Property information site:

OwnerST MARYS CHURCHBook-Page/Date1277-367 * 6/30/1914 *
OwnerPROTESTANT EPISCOPAL DIOCBook-Page/Date10885-1510 * 4/19/1995 *
OwnerWEISBERG JEFFREY MBook-Page/Date10885-1516 * 4/19/1995 *
OwnerABUNDANT LIFE SCRIPTUREBook-Page/Date11023-1203 * 12/17/2002 *
OwnerCITY OF BUFFALO REFBook-Page/DateR 39-S0283 * 9/15/2005 *
OwnerMYRIE-OYEWO JULIA JBook-Page/Date11110-4036 * 3/7/2006 *

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that Weisburg stripped the building, because that's what he does did...legally too, because he owned it (along with the Architectural Circus a block up on Niagara).

Parcel StatusACTIVECity\TownBuffaloVillage
Property Location783 NIAGARA Mailing Address
Property Class620 RELIGIOUSLine 2
Assessment135000Line 3
Taxable135000Street1039 E 227 ST
Desc W/PCS 18 X 40 & 114 X 42Zip10466
Deed Book11110Deed Page4036

Then there's the Sale info from the City of Buffalo website:

Deed Date:Deed Book:Deed Page:Deed Type:Valid Sale:
03/07/2006 - 00:00 AM 111104036 T- Tax Sale0
Sale Price:Sales Condition:Parcel No.:
$17,0000 - 1

A couple of things jump out here - that it's still listed as a religious building and that it's still assessed at $135,000 (!) despite the current owner buying at a City foreclosure sale in 2005 (deed filed in '06) for much less. It only took them a month to raise the assessment to $75,000 at the Extreme Makeover house a few blocks over at 228 Massachusetts. Meanwhile, the partial demo of the church had to set the owner back a bundle, assuming she paid the bill.

It's easy to go on about saving what's left and loving what Savarino wants to do with it, but that may only encourage the greed of the owner. Tough one. Maybe she should get out while the getting is good and leave a drop of hope in the neighborhood.

Maybe Housing Court could help the process along rather than continue with endless adjournments. Then again, maybe someone is thinking of buying and reselling to another buddy to convince investors how astute they are. It's been done before, and it's called fraud. Maybe better to sell to Savarino :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Christadelphian Chapel

The mainstream churches get most of the attention, be they a major branch of Christianity or something else. Yet there are lots of little groups around us everywhere. Some are recent assemblies while other go back to the early 1900's at least. Most of us are barely conscious of some of them.

Until I wandered around the block from the Mason's auction house on Cazenovia in South Buffalo I had never heard of the Christadelphian church, but there it was, at 23 Glendhu:

The sign looks to be an original, if it were possible for paint to last that long. The church was built in 1903 as an early home of St. Simon's Episcopal Church, now located on Cazenovia Street right around the corner. From an early history of St. Simons:
"The building is perhaps the finest example of Carpenter Gothic architecture remaining in the city. The interior of the building, with its exquisite wood ceiling, remains virtually unchanged since the time of its construction."
More on the Christadelphians, from the text of Religious Forces in US (census data which compared 1890 with 1900 and 1910):
"John Thomas, M.D., an Englishman, came to this country in 1844, and identified himself with the Disciples of Christ. Soon after, his views changed and he became
convinced by a study of the Bible that the cardinal doctrine of the existing churches correspond with those of the apostate church predicted in Scripture. He began to publish his views, and organized a number of societies in this country, Canada, and Great Britain.

No name was adopted for these societies until the Civil War broke out. The members applied to the government to be relieved from military duty in consequence of conscientious scruples, and finding it necessary to have a distinctive name,that of Christadelphians, or Brothers of Christ, was adopted."
There's more, far down at the link. Apparently the group prefers alternating its meeting places so the building on Glenhu is one of its few continuous sites. The congregation is still active today.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Statler Revisited

Last August I roamed around the Statler on Delaware taking pictures and compared them here to some stills from The Shining. This past week I decided to revisit it before it is possibly "mothballed" which is the equivalent of a death knell in the City of Buffalo. I mean, it worked out so well for the Aud.

The pictures are finally loaded to my Statler page on Picasa, labels to come at a later time. More chandeliers are included, even though it annoys me that I can't capture them exactly how they appear to my eyes...

...and even the ladies room off of the Golden Ballroom where it's apparent New Year's Eve was in its recent past.

Outdoors shots too, even though that will be there to enjoy for a while.

Some pictures are a bit pixelly, but my point and shoot did the best it could...and you wouldn't throw out pictures of a treasured friend just because they weren't coffee table book quality, would you? Well, I hope not anyway.

At the bottom is a video shot by WGRZ that shows the Golden Ballroom "live" with the couple that will soon to celebrate their newly wedded life there. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Terrace Room

The doors were locked, so I made do with the angles I had.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I think I could take a better picture than this, even with my mere point and shoot, as long as the chandelier wasn't lit anyway. That throws my auto everything way off. Practice makes perfect, right?

I took over 80 pictures the other day and it's taking me a while to look through them all and go "eh..."

Monday, January 4, 2010


I think this looks neat, or at least "different", even though it doesn't come off looking anything like it appears at first glance on the wall. I have a few other pictures that I wish had turned out differently too. Maybe I'll go back and try again tomorrow.

(aficionados will know where I was hanging out, camera in hand...)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

An Early Edition of Riverside ME Church

One of the early editions of Riverside Methodist Episcopal Church stands at the corner of Bird and West on the West Side, formerly known as part of Black Rock.

Seems the church moved around quite a bit, along with splitting into rival factions and then making up again. It started in downtown Buffalo around Franklin and Niagara somewhere, then moved on up river, continually upgrading.

This particular building was deemed to expensive to repair properly and sold to private interests for storage. It still maintains its spiritual look on the outside even though the insides were gutted long ago.

Meanwhile the congregation built another church on Baynes and Potomac, where another group now holds services.