ST. NICHOLAS' CHURCH
In the spring of 1874, people in the Cold Spring district, east of Main
Street, discussed the desirability of forming a new parish. Many
houses were going up in this quarter of the city, and the many Catholics
found it inconvenient to attend St. Louis' Church, or the little parish
of St. Vincent's on Main Street. Mr. Gregory Ritt donated a piece
of land, on Locust Street, for the site of a Catholic church. Father
Van Velten visited many Catholic families of the district and organized
them into a congregation. He also began the erection of a little
frame church on the site donated by Mr. Ritt. The little building
was ready by Christmas of 1874, and here the first Mass was said on that
day for the new congregation. There was no house at that time for
the pastor, and he boarded with some of the families in the parish.
Father Van Velten remained only a short time when he was succeeded by the
Rev. Victor Ritter, who also boarded with one of the families of the parish.
The parish was not quite strong enough financially to support a pastor
and to erect buildings necessary for a city congregation, so the parish
was attached to one of the organized congregations of the city from which
it was regularly attended on Sundays. Priests came for some years
from St. Vincent's parish on Main Street, and later from St. Louis' Church,
to hold services in the little frame building on Welker Street. Priests
who attended the congregation during this period were: The Rev. J. Hamel,
Rev. T. Voss, Rev. C. Wagner, Rev. B. Gruber, Rev. G. Gaysen, Rev. M. Phillips,
and Rev. George Weber. In the spring of 1885, the Rev. George Weber,
who attended the church from St. Louis' parish, started the construction
of a frame parochial residence. The congregation at this time was
sufficiently numerous to claim a resident pastor. The Rev. C. O'Byrne
was appointed; and he attended the congregation on Sundays from St. Joseph's
Cathedral, where he dwelt until the parochial residence was completed.
Father O'Byrne started a little parochial school in the rear of the old
frame church the year after his arrival. The population of this portion
of the city increased very rapidly in the succeeding years; and Father
O'Byrne soon found that his little frame church was not large enough to
accommodate the rapidly increasing members. There was a fine plot
of land, extending from his little lot on Welker Street through to the
corner of Utica Street. This property Father O'Byrne purchased the
year of his arrival, and he immediately formed plans for the erection of
a fine brick church. He began the building in the spring of 1892,
and the cornerstone was laid on the last day of July of the same year.
The church was dedicated on Rosary Sunday of the year following, by Bishop
Foley of Detroit.
BUFFALO, NEW YORK
Teachers from Miss Nardin's Academy came every morning from the convent
on Franklin Street near the cathedral, to teach the children of the parochial
school. When the congregation took possession of the new church,
the old frame building on Welker Street was converted into a school building.
It was very inconvenient to bring the teachers from such a distance every
morning, in all kinds of weather, to the school on Welker Street, and Father
O'Byrne, therefore, planned a home for them adjoining the school.
He began the construction of a new parochial residence in 1899. The
old building was moved onto the lot on the next street, adjoining his Welker
Street property. When his new house was completed, he turned the
frame building over to the Sisters of St. Francis' from Pine Street, who
succeeded the Nardin's in teaching the parochial school. The next
work which Father O'Byrne planned was the erection of a magnificent school
building. A very fine church property, consisting of a fine brick
church, a handsome parochial residence and an up-to-date school are all
the result of his untiring energy and zeal, in building up the parish of
Father O'Byrne built a new convent for the sisters in 1913, and a year
later he put a crown of glory on his labors by freeing the church from
debt and having it consecrated by Bishop Colton, July, 1914.
Father O'Byrne died October 5, 1919, and the Rev. James F. McGloin came
the same month as the second pastor of St. Nicholas. The school was
over-crowded and Father McGloin planned a magnificent new school, which
was completed in the summer of 1924, at a cost of $170,000.
Father McGloin was honored by the title of Domestic Prelate in May,
1927, at Rome whither he had gone to take part in the jubilee celebration
of his Alma Mater, the Propaganda College.
He started a preparatory school, in 1926, for young boys who wished
to study for the priesthood, under the patronage of Saint Joseph and the
Little Flower. Classes are held at Mount Saint Joseph's, and it is
Rev. Thomas Donohue, D.D., History of the Diocese of Buffalo
(Buffalo, New York: The Buffalo Catholic Publication Co., Inc., 1929),
Back to Buffalo Parishes.
Cheektowaga, New York