Asbury Delaware Avenue Methodist Church / The Church - Table of Contents

2000 Photographs
Asbury Delaware Avenue Methodist Church
339 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY




Gothic Revival


John H. Selkirk

Original stained glass windows:

Booth and Riester of Buffalo

TEXT Beneath Illustrations

Click on photos for larger size

Gothic Revival

Delaware Avenue front entrance

Gabled front entrance: multi-foil tracery

W. Tupper (north) side entrance

Buttresses on W. Tupper side (north)

Quatrefoil tracery in a round window on the right hand (south) spire

Righteous Babe begins saving Asbury Delaware Church

According to a news story in The Buffalo News (Dec. 18, 2001), Righteous Babe Records, owned by singer Ani DiFranco, is spending $63000 to make repairs to the roof and tower at the former Asbury Delaware United Methodist Church at Delaware Avenue and West Tupper Street in Buffalo.

The company plans to spend another $2.5 million and occupy the space next summer.

A serious problem is that the city would have to invest $2.3 million.

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 famous Tifft House, a hotel on Main Street long since demolished, as well as the simple Romanesque facade (1859) of the old Illuminating Gas Co. behind City Hall.

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 original stained-glass windows -- now removed -- were done by Booth and Reister, a local firm.

Buffalo churches being built about this time were beginning to be influenced by the Romanesque style of H. H. Richardson's great, towered Buffalo State Hospital, begun in 1870. However, this imposing Medina sandstone house of worship continued to follow the Gothic Revival trend of Upjohn's St. Paul's ( 1849-1851). The chapel was built first at the rear of the lot; then several years later the sanctuary was constructed.

Unusual features of the church are its Edgar Allan Poe-like catacombs beneath the building and its old-fashioned side galleries in the nave. The altar and trimmings on the backs of the pews are rosewood.

Originally called the Delaware Avenue Methodist Church, the name was changed in 1917 at the time of the merger with the Asbury Methodist congregation

In 1929, internationally known "human fly" George A. Deon was brought in from New York City to clean the belfry and bells. Deon was said to be the only man in the country trusted with the cleaning of the Statue of Liberty and was under contract to clean the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The chimes, silent since the death of President McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition in 1901, were unusable to the accumulation of eight tons of pigeon droppings.


Photos and their arrangement 2000 Chuck LaChiusa
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