Plymouth Methodist Church and Karpeles Museum - Table of Contents

Exterior Photos
Plymouth Methodist Church / Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum
453 Porter Avenue, Buffalo, NY

"Karpeles" pronunciation: KARP e les




Cyrus K. Porter & Son


Romanesque Revival


Buffalo local landmark

TEXT Beneath Illustrations

Click on photos for larger size -- and additional info

1978 Shaw Memorial A. M. E. Zion Church plaque


View from Porter and Jersey Streets

View from Porter and Jersey Streets - the point of the triangular site. 

Tower and east window depicting Christ the Good Shepherd in all five arcade panels of the window,

Belfry (empty) with Romanesque rounded arches. Building material is locally quarried Onondaga limestone

North view (Porter Avenue). Note statue in belfry

Statue in belfry: "Quasimodo," by Michael Kelly

Southeast view from Jersey and Plymouth Sts.

Entrance ("portal bay") architecture is identical to the entrance on Porter.

 Lantern with Romanesque rounded arches.

Onondaga limestone chimney on left

Walls are made of brick faced with stucco. Note corbel table


Porter Avenue museum

Above the doors is wood paneling, enriched by tiny
wooden attached

Tympanums are filled with leaded stained glass windows (See additional page on building's stained glass windows)



The Jersey Street Methodist Episcopal Church was built on this site. In 1873 the congregation changed its name to Plymouth Methodist Episcopal Church in commemoration of the faith and courage which the Pilgrim Fathers had shown in 1620 at Plymouth Rock. Because of the church's prominence on Porter Avenue and its significance in the community it quickly became the namesake for Twelfth Street, whose name was changed to Plymouth Avenue during the intervening years 1874 to 1884.

In 1911-12, the church was replaced by a larger one - the present building. The architects were Cyrus K. Porter & Son (The father died before the commission was finished.)

In 1995, the Karpeles Manuscript Library purchased the abandoned building, making it the seventh museum in the The Karpeles Library - the world's largest private holding of important original manuscripts & documents. The enormous building needed over $2 million in extensive renovation.

Visitors to the museum are treated to both special traveling exhibits from the museum's collection of over one million manuscripts and documents, the permanent collection of documents in the McKinley Room, and the building itself. (For more infomation about the history of the church and buildings, see 1989 Application for Landmark Site Status.)

Special thanks to Museum Director Christopher Kelly for his cooperation.

Photos and their arrangement 2002 Chuck LaChiusa.
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