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Buffalo church looks a lot like St. Mary’s in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 December 2014 at 12:00 am

Our Sandstone Heritage

Photos by Tom Rivers – The Annunciation Church looms large on Lafayette Avenue in Buffalo.

BUFFALO – I admit I was a little lost in Buffalo on Saturday. But suddenly I felt like I was back in Orleans County.

On Lafayette Avenue there is a Catholic church that looks almost identical to St. Mary’s in Medina. I parked at St. Mary’s on Saturday morning to go cover the 5K race in Medina. A few hours later I was looking at St. Mary’s twin.

St. Mary’s in Medina looks a lot like Annunciation, except in Medina the taller tower is on the opposite side.

I was in Buffalo for a book event at The Buffalo History Museum. I was one of 75 local authors there.

I was antsy for much of the event because I wanted to get out and explore. Buffalo is a Medina sandstone powerhouse. After the book event, I went over to the Richardson Olmsted Complex to get some new photos. This site is being remodeled to become a hotel and conference center. It’s one of the great sandstone structures in the region.

I could see a church steeple in the distance and it appeared to be a sandstone building. But I didn’t find that church. Instead I was passing along Lafayette Avenue when I encountered the Annunciation Roman Catholic Church at 257 Lafayette Ave.

The cornerstone of this church was set in 1898. It was erected in 1900-1901. 

It has two spires just like St. Mary’s, and has the Gothic Revival architectural style. However, Annunciation is a little different. It has the taller spire on the left side, where St. Mary’s is taller on the right. Otherwise, the look very much alike.

I did a little research and they were both designed by the same architect, Albert A. Post, a leading ecclesiastical architect and also a devote Catholic. He designed many Catholic churches in the Buffalo area and in Ontario, Canada.

The Annunciation site, part of Our Lady of Hope Parish, includes a school, rectory and convent. I like the old doors at these churches.

Annunciation even has distinctive door knockers.

St. Mary’s was built at the turn of the century during Medina’s boom years. City Hall and railroad depot also were built in this era.

The church served a primarily Irish congregation when it opened. St. Mary’s was designed in a Fourteenth Century English Gothic style.

Construction of St. Mary’s in Medina started in 1902. The church was dedicated and consecrated July 10, 1904. The north tower is 170 feet high with the south tower at 100 feet.

St. Mary’s was one of six sites to make the first class of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame last December.