When the Rev. Edward Kelley retired from the rectorship of the Cathedral he took charge of St. John the Baptist Church, at Lower Black Rock, and he immediately began the organization of a new parish in what was called the Upper Rock. This new parish comprised a portion of St. John the Baptist congregation and some of the Holy Angels' parish. Father Kelley bought a plot of land on Bouck Avenue, now Lafayette Avenue, near Grant Street, and soon afterwards began the erection of a temporary frame structure, which would serve the purpose of a church until a more substantial building could be erected. In the fall of 1884 the little building was completed; and Father Kelley opened the church to the new congregation and took up his residence in a little cottage on the corner of Bouck Avenue and Grant Street. Father Kelley dwelt here, struggling along under the burden of debt, with his little congregation until his death in February, 1889, when he was succeeded by the Rev. J. Baxter. Soon after his advent Father Baxter moved into a rented building on Bouck Avenue, some distance from the church, and began construction of a fine parochial residence. Father Baxter continued as pastor of the growing congregation until his death in September, 1892, when he was succeeded by the Rev. J. McGrath.
Father McGrath found a large congregation of generous and faithful people, and he determined at once to erect a building which would be large enough to accommodate his people, and which would be in keeping with the importance of one of the foremost congregations of the diocese. He laid his plans for a stone structure, and he laid the cornerstone of the fine brownstone building in May, 1900. The work was pushed rapidly, and the building was ready for dedication in May of the year following. The church is complete in every respect, handsomely decorated, and well furnished with everything necessary for a commodious church building.
A parochial school was started here by the sisters from Lockport in 1886, on land which they purchased, with the intention of conducting an academy and boarding school in connection with the parochial school of the parish. The church is situated in a fine locality, and the congregation still continues to increase in numbers and importance.
Father McGrath began a magnificent school in 1913, which was opened in 1915, and which serves also as a social center for the parish.
Father McGrath died December 9, 1915, and was succeeded by the Rt. Rev. Msgr. J.D. Biden. Monsignor Biden planned the erection of a larger parochial residence, which was completed in 1922, and he also procured more playground for the school and a house for the janitor.
Monsignor Biden was honored by the Holy See in May, 1925, by the title of Prothonotory Apostolic, and the investiture took place in the church September 21, 1925, before a large assemblage of priests and people.
Monsignor Biden died March 18, 1927, and he was succeeded by Monsignor O'Brien. Monsignor O'Brien immediately planned the erection of a magnificent school with provision for high school courses. The corner-stone was laid April 15, 1928, by Bishop Turner.
Rev. Thomas Donohue, D.D., History of the Diocese of Buffalo (Buffalo, New York: The Buffalo Catholic Publication Co., Inc., 1929), p. 159-160.