Delaware Asbury Church

Buffalo Architectural History Minute

Delaware Asbury Church

Designed/Built: (1871-76), John H. Selkirk

This imposing Medina sandstone church was the last and most important work of John H. Selkirk (1808-1878). Born in Litchfield, Connecticut, Selkirk came to Buffalo in 1825 and enjoyed a long career as a builder-architect. He erected many houses, churches, and commercial buildings, including the Tifft House, a hotel on Main Street long since demolished, as well as the simple Romanesque facade (1859) of the Gas Co. behind City Hall. The building will be Selkirk’s most ambitious and final project; he dies within two years of its completion

Like many Gothic Revival buildings for low church denominations, Selkirk’s church was designed with side galleries, old-fashioned features that high-church congregations had long since abandoned as uncharacteristic of medieval interiors. The stained glass were designed and produced by a buffalo stained glass studio of Booth and Reister. In 1917 the Delaware Methodist congregation would merge with the Asbury Methodist, producing a robust congregation for many decades to come. By the 1980s the downtown buffalo population is on the downfall and many of the City’s churches become vacant. The Asbury Church is not immune to this trend; the aging church structures fall into disrepair due to lack of maintenance and dwindling budgets before the church became empty. For about a decade the church sat vacant and was victim to salvagers and theft.

by 1996 the church began to literally fall apart as masonry joints on the steeple and bell tower give way, The City decided there was no option but to demolish the church to prevent public injury. Outcry from the community and activists led a local record company’s president to organization to legally stop the demolition and raise fund to repair and preserve the building. in the early 2000’s a deal is struck between the city and Righteous babe records releasing the title of the property in exchange for a privately funded interior renovation of the space into a concert venue/ art gallery, however the city was still responsible for miscellaneous exterior/ structural repair to the Church before the sale (nice deal if you can get it). By 2004 renovations are complete and modern conveniences are added including a geothermal heating system and an addition housing a stairwell and elevator.

Here’s the Architect’s overview of the project

http://www.archres.com/what/Righteous_Babe_Records

Here’s a site showing all the stained glass windows

http://buffaloah.com/a/del/339/2011/2011.html

Sources:

· http://www.babevillebuffalo.com/timeline

· http://ah.bfn.org

· Google Images Search

· http://www.babevillebuffalo.com/timeline

as always also posted on https://holtarchitects.wordpress.com/

Andy Petruzzelli
Designer

HOLT Architects, P.C.
217 N. Aurora St.
Ithaca, NY 14850
phone 607 273-7600 Ext. 151
fax 607 273-0475
http://www.holt.com

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