Westminster Presbyterian Church - Table of Contents

Westminster Presbyterian Church
724 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY
located on Millionaires' Row




Harlow .M. Wilcox

Master mason:

Henry Rumrill


Romanesque Revival


Jesse Ketchum founds a chapel on the site


Forty North Street area residents, including ten members of the First Presbyterian Church, found Westminster Church on land donated by Jesse Ketchum (North Street was the northern boundary)

Previous Presbyterian churches:
First Presbyterian , Lafayette, Central, North, First Church of Black Rock


Cornerstone laid


First sermon preached in the building


Sanctuary renovated by Tiffany Studios who stenciled Christian symbols in gold throughout: 13 around chancel arch, 11 in chancel, 66 on wall panels. The stencils designer was René Théophile de Quélin.

Redecoration included the church windows and the electroliers. Interior changed to English Tudor


New Gothic-style stained glass windows installed, replacing the handsome but plain opalescent Tiffany windows. The first window was contributed by the Richmond family.


Tiffany Studios-stenciled Christian symbols covered


Tiffany Studios-stenciled Christian symbols around chancel arch and chancel restored

Westminster Presbyterian plaque
Stone Church, 45 Davenport Rd., Toronto plaque.
Photo courtesy of John McClive

Click on illustrations for larger size

Jesse Ketchum, who was a tanner, came to Buffalo in 1845. He purchased a lot on North Street for his home when North Street at Delaware Avenue was the boundary between Buffalo and Black Rock.

He then bought frontage on Delaware Avenue with the hope of building a church and Sunday School there. The hope was deferred for a time, but an organization of trustees and interested people was formed and the name Westminster Society was given to it. The purpose of the Society was to plan for building the church.

The name Westminster is of sound ecclesiastical origin. It was derived from the in the reign of King Charles I. The Assembly sat in the Borough of Westminster in London from 1643-1649 for the purpose of agreeing on Articles of Faith and a Constitution of Government for the Presbyterian Church. These were Puritan divines who were in defiance of King Charles and Archbishop Laud of the Church of England. The Westminster Confession of Faith has come down through history practically unchanged from that ancient assembly.

Finally, in 1858, the building of the present church was begun. Harold .W. Wilcox was the architect, and Henry Rumrill was the master mason. The total cost of the building was $19,200, and this included the erection of a two story chapel in the rear.

The bell from the original chapel marked A. G. Buffalo, 1850 (Adam Goode Brass and Bell Foundry on Ohio Street near Washington) was hoisted into the two
hundred foot steeple where it hangs today.

Temple Beth Zion

When Temple Beth Zion burned in 1961, Westminster was able to provide its facilities to the congregation of Beth Zion while its new building was erected. This recalled the hospitality extended to Westminster by that congregation in 1902 when the sanctuary was being redecorated.


Page by Chuck LaChiusa
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