Reprinted with permission as a public service by the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier, now the Preservation Buffalo Niagara
Saint Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church - Table of Contents
Saint Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church - 1926-1927
Humboldt Parkway at Northland (SW)
Architects: Murphy & Olmsted with George Dietel
Founded: May 1912
With the sale of the former Hamlin Driving Park for residential development in 1912, Bishop Charles Colton of the Catholic Diocese recognized the potential need for a church presence in the area. In May, 1912, he appointed Rev. Carr to organize aparish from portions of St. Nicholas on East Utica, St. Mary Magdalene on Fillmore and St. Vincent de Paul on Main Street.
He quickly secured the site on the corner of Humboldt Parkway and Northland and began to convert the building on it into a chapel. As worked progressed, the building proved to have structural deficiencies which rendered it unsuitable for use by a large number of people. At that time, local developer William H. Fitzpatrick offered to donate the necessary time and labor with which to construct a proper house of worship. With the 200 seat church completed, Rev. Carr celebrated the first mass on 6 August, 1912.
The second church
Realizing the potential for growth in the area, the following month, Rev. Carr began planning for the construction of acombination church/school building. Designed by architect George Dietel, the congregation placed the cornerstone in December, 1912 and occupied the $80,000 building the following year.
By 1925,with the area being fully developed, the congregation had outgrown the building. At that time, they established a building fund, first retiring all debts of the parish prior to beginning construction on the current house of worship.
The third church
Architect George Dietel once again prepared plans for the newbuilding. At the recommendation of the Bishop, Dietel associated with the Washington, D.C. firm of Murphy & Olmstead on the final design. The congregation placed the cornerstone of the building on 31 October, 1926 and dedicated the completed building on 15 April, 1928.
Constructed at a cost of $400,000, the 900 seat building resembles churches common to the Northern Italian area of Ravenna.
- Constructed of limestone, the building is crowned with a tile roof.
- A campanile rises at the intersection of the nave and the transept.
- Stone grills cover the windows, most of which were originally thin sheets of marble.
- The interior contains a wealth of mosaics covering a large portion of the wall surfaces.
- The ceiling, by the Raphael Guastavino Company, features a polychrome motif highlighted by the oculi of the dome at the intersection of the nave and the transept
© 1995 James Napora
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