ST. ANN'S CHURCH
BUFFALO, NEW YORK

The city grew in an easterly direction very rapidly from the year 1850, and it soon became necessary to organize another parish for the Germans eastward of St. Mary's congregation. Bishop Timon secured a plot of land from Mr. S. V. Watson on Emslie Street, near Broadway, in 1857, and this he transferred to the Jesuits, who soon erected a little brick church, school and priest's house for the new congregation. The cornerstone of the church was laid on the 25th of March, 1858, and the little building was dedicated on the 20th of June of the same year by Father Kratbauer, during the Bishop's absence in Europe. For some time the church was attended from St. Michael's until the Rev. J. Vetter, S. J., was appointed the first resident pastor, in July, 1858. Father Caveng, who was superior of the order in Buffalo at the time, superintended the work of organizing the new parish and started it wisely on its career of prosperity.

The parish increased rapidly, and it soon became necessary to provide more room for the growing number of this prosperous parish. A handsome piece of property was secured on Broadway, and preparations were made for the erection of a very handsome church building. A brother of the order had studied architecture, and he drew the plans for a handsome Gothic church building. This was Brother Halfmann, who succeeded in erecting one of the handsomest Gothic structures in the city. The lines are graceful and the style harmonious, and the building recalls some of the famous Gothic cathedrals of Germany and France. The foundation of the new church was begun in April 1878, when the Rev. William Roether, S. J., was rector of St. Ann's, and the cornerstone was laid of the 26th of August, 1878, by Bishop Ryan. Work progressed slowly on the new building, because under the wise guidance of the rector, work and material were paid for as the building advanced, and the entire structure was completed in 1886 at a cost of $120,000. Everything in the building was paid for, except the furniture and furnishings, on the day of consecration, which took place the third Sunday in May, 1886. The ceremony was performed by Bishop Ryan in the presence of a great congregation and a large number of priests.

The school accommodations next engaged the attention of the priests of the parish. The increase of children at the school kept pace with the increased attendance at the church, and it soon became evident that a very large building would be necessary to accommodate the great flock of children in the parish. Plans were formed for a forty-room building, with a large hall the entire length and width of the building. Work was begun on the new structure in April, 1895, under the direction of the Rev. J. Kreusch, S. J., who was then rector of the parish. Classes were held on week-days in the church building until the new school structure was completed. Work was rushed on the new building, and it was ready for use and was solemnly blessed on the 15th of November, 1895. The cost of this magnificent school building, which was the largest parochial school building in the diocese, was $107,000. There are over 1,000 children in attendance at this school, which is taught by twenty sisters of the Order of St. Francis.

The priests who look after the interests of this immense congregation reside in a comfortable parochial residence on Watson Street, adjoining the magnificent stone church building. The following priests have had charge of St. Ann's congregation: The Rev. J. Vetter, S. J., from the foundation the early spring of 1858, to August 28, 1860; the Rev. B. Fritsch, S. J., to October 7, 1866, the Rev. J. Blettner, S. J. to July 26, 1870; the Rev. I. Bellwalder, S. J., to September 7, 1871; the Rev. P. Spicher, S. J., to July 9, 1872, the Rev. I. Bellwalder, S. J., to February 5, 1875; the Rev. W. Roether, S. J., to October, 1888; the Rev. W. Kockerols, S. J., to December 29, 1889; the Rev. W. Roether, S. J., to September 12, 1891; the Rev. J. Kreusch, S. J., to December 19,1896; the Rev. W. Becker, S. J., to November 15, 1899; the Rev. T. Hegemann, S. J., to July 2, 1902; the Rev. F. X. Neubrand, S. J., to August 28, 1903, when the Rev. V. Scheppach, S. J., was appointed pastor.

This is one of the larger congregations in the diocese. The number of children in the school gives a pretty fair indication of the number of people in the parish. Nearly all the children of school age attend the parochial school and the people are very exact and faithful in their attendance at the church services, and the parish is well supplied with all the buildings necessary for a prosperous parish.

The Rev. Fathers Miller, Krim, Kirschemeyer, Alderman, Leonard, and now Father Maeckel, each in succession have directed the affairs of St. Ann's parish for short periods.

On August 26, 1928, Father Maeckel began a four-days' celebration of the golden jubilee of the laying of the cornerstone of St. Ann's Church.



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Holly Timm
Cheektowaga, New York
erie@nygenweb.com