St. Ann's postcard, c 1900.
Image source: private collection

St.Ann's Roman Catholic Church was founded in 1858, when a brick church was built near the present structure. It was a German church and the Jesuit priests spoke German.

Construction of St. Ann's was completed in 1886, after eight years of construction. The project took that long because the parish was required to raise the money to pay for the construction as it progressed.

German stained glass windows were imported as the years went by, and six bells were installed in the spires, the largest of which is 7,800 pounds. Buffalo woodcarver Heinrich Schmitt created the large wooden statues over the columns.

St. Ann's enlarged its school and had the largest Catholic grammar school population in Buffalo. The church, with its adjacent residences for the Jesuit priests and Sisters of St. Francis nuns, became the focal point of the neighborhood in services to the community.

 

 


The church dominated the east side, symbolic of its place in the daily lives of the neighborhood, where it served everyone regardless of faith. Image source: St. Ann's


The steeples were removed after a windstorm in 1964. Image source: St. Ann's

The photos below were taken during the October 2010 Doors Open weekend.


These towers have been noted as the most structurally dangerous portion of the church.

After World War II, most of the population served by St. Ann's moved away and those who replaced them were not Catholic. In 2007, the diocese merged St. Ann's parish with SS Columba & Brigid. It remained open until April 2012 as a "temporary worship site" and was then closed by the diocese which declared the building structurally unsafe.

On Sunday, August 18, 2013, the diocese announced that the church and its buildings would be razed later in the year.

 

To read the detailed history of St. Ann's, see Martin F. Ederer's essay here.

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