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Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame adds 3 more sites

Photos by Tom Rivers: Three buildings were inducted into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame on Thursday. Representing the James Prendergast Free Library in Jamestown includes Tina Scott, library director, and Ned Lindstrom, a member of the library’s board of trustees; Representing St. John’s Episcopal Church in Clifton Springs is Andrew VanBuren, the church's rector; Representing Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church/Lafayette Lofts in Buffalo are Paul Meyer, a member of the Session, and Diane Poleon, a member of the church.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 October 2018 at 7:35 am

Buildings inducted from Jamestown, Buffalo and Clifton Springs

MEDINA – Three buildings that were built in the late 1800s from local Medina Sandstone were inducted Thursday afternoon into the Medina Sandstone Society’s Hall of Fame.

The new inductees include the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church/Lafayette Lofts in Buffalo, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Clifton Springs and the James Prendergast Free Library in Jamestown.

The Medina Sandstone Society started the Hall of Fame in 2013 and has now inducted 27 structures into the exclusive club. There are plaques for the inductees inside City Hall at the main meeting room.

The Sandstone Society accepts nominations each year. So far, 54 places have been nominated. Don Colquhoun, one of the Hall of Fame Committee members, said many other prominent sites worthy of induction have yet to be nominated.

Colquhoun and Jim Hancock, president of the Sandstone Society and chairman of the HOF Committee, said there will be new inductees for many years to come.

“We’re not even close,” Colquhoun said about honoring all of the awesome Medina Sandstone sites.

The Sandstone Society wants to recognize well-maintained buildings and other sandstone sites that are unique and architecturally significant. The society has inducted churches, public buildings, private buildings and ornamental buildings/structures.

“We have truly been amazed at the multitude of buildings from this seemingly indestructible building material,” Hancock said.

The new inductees include:

• Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church/Lafayette Lofts in Buffalo

Paul Meyer, left, is a member of the Session at Lafayette. He listens to the citation from Don Colquhoun about the church and its loft apartments.

The Lafayette Presbyterian Church had the building constructed at the corner of Lafayette and Elmwood avenues in 1894.

The church is a sterling example of the use of Medina Sandstone in the Romanesque Revival style with a large cruciform floor plan and an attached rear chapel. Lafayette was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

More recently, the rear of this historic church building was repurposed into the Lafayette Lofts, offering a number of modern living spaces, culinary center, the office and meeting spaces without compromising the original architectural design and beauty.

“It is a great example of historic preservation at its best,” said Don Colquhoun, a member of the Hall of Fame Committee.

 

• St. John’s Episcopal Church in Clifton Springs

Andrew VanBuren, rector at St. John’s, said the congregation takes great pride in the church building.

Construction of this church on Main Street in this Ontario County village was completed in 1883, after the cornerstone was laid in 1879.

The church’s Belgian Gothic style makes this edifice remarkably unique. The Medina sandstone was brought by barge from Medina along the Erie Canal to Port Gibson and transported by wagon or sleds to the build site.

“If you visit Clifton Springs and drive down Main Street, heading east and look up, you’ll see this beautiful Medina Sandstone church silhouetted on the horizon, welcoming you to this historic village,” Hancock said.

Andrew VanBuren, the rector at St. John’s the past 3 ½ years, said the church of 35-40 attendees faced a $50,000 project to repoint stones. The congregation raised the funds and is determined to not let the building fall into disrepair.

“It’s important for us to have a structure that welcomes people,” he said.

He praised the generations before him that have worked so hard with the building.

• James Prendergast Free Library, Jamestown

The Prendergast family donated the money to build a library in Jamestown in memory of James Prendergast, son of this Chautauqua County city’s founder. Architect A.J. Warner of Rochester was given $65,000 to design and build a 127-foot by 100-foot structure that was completed in 1891 after 11 years of effort.

Tina Scott, Prendergast library director, accepts the award.

This sturdy-looking building was built of rock-faced Medina sandstone in the Richardsonian Romanesque style.

The use of contrasting gray and red sandstone, curved arches over the entrance and a lovely turret on the southeast corner give the library a uniquely enchanting appearance.

In the 1960s, an expansion and modernization project added 16,500 square feet to the library, but the Medina Sandstone south side entrance and interior rooms remained largely unchanged and still retain all the charm that the Prendergast family would have appreciated.

Tina Scott, Prendergast library director the past 10 years, said the sandstone building is so sound it was once used as a bomb shelter. She loves the marble floors inside and the alternating sandstone colors, the red and gray.

The building is a source of pride in the Jamestown community, she said.

“It was built to last,” she said. “You don’t see them built like that these days.”

Scott said she didn’t known there has a Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame until recently when she was notified the Jamestown library would be inducted. She praised the organizers for their local pride and for recognizing the outstanding sites.

“It’s awesome because you’re keeping the history of your town alive,” she said.

Jim Hancock, president of the Medina Sandstone Society, gives the welcome message during the Hall of Fame program. He stands in front of a revamped display of all the inductees since 2013.

Takeform Architectural Graphics in Medina has donated all of the plaques in the Hall of Fame. The local company also did a redesign of the display, which was running out of room for new inductees. The new display has room for another four or five years, Hancock said.

Bill Hungerford, president of Takeform, has been a Sandstone Society supporter and member since the group started in 2004.

For more on the Hall of Fame, click here.


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New class of Medina Sandstone buildings will be inducted into Hall of Fame Oct. 18

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 September 2018 at 9:32 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Pullman Memorial Universalist Church is pictured recently in Albion. The church was inducted into the first class of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame in 2013.

MEDINA – A new class of magnificent Medina Sandstone buildings will be inducted into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame on Oct. 18.

This will be the sixth class to go into the Hall of Fame, which is located inside City Hall in Medina. The Medina Sandstone Society is planning an induction ceremony from 1 to 3 p.m. on Oct. 18.

The new class includes three inductees.

Since the Hall of Fame was established in 2013, 24 buildings have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame with sites across New York State and one in Erie, Pennsylvania.

The Hall of Fame Committee – Jim Hancock, David Miller and Don Colquhoun – makes road trips to all of the nominees and does research on the buildings. Hancock, the Sandstone Society president, said he has developed a far deeper appreciation for the local quarried stone.

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Sandstone Society has sellout for first local bus tour

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2018 at 11:06 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Michael Miano of Middleport takes a photo of the First Presbyterian Church of Albion on Sunday as part of the first bus tour of local sites that are in the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame.

The Medina Sandstone Society organized the tour and had a sell-out with 30 people riding the bus through My Cowboy Transportation in Medina.

The Sandstone Society established the Hall of Fame in 2013. There are plaques of the inductees hanging inside the main meeting room at City Hall in Medina.

The group heads into Pullman Memorial Universalist Church in Albion which was included in the debut Hall of Fame Class in 2013.

The tour started in Medina and included Holy Trinity Parish (St. Mary’s Catholic Church), the former Armory (now the Orleans County YMCA) and then St. John’s Episcopal Church.

The bus then headed to Albion for stops at the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church, First Presbyterian Church and Mount Albion Cemetery. The group then went to Holley to see St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Hillside Cemetery, where the chapel has the only flying buttress in the county.

Bill Lattin, the retired Orleans County historian, welcomes the group into the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church. Lattin described architectural features and the local efforts behind creating the landmark buildings.

The Pullman church was built in a Gothic Revival style to resemble an 11th century rural England church. George Pullman, the famed railroad industrialist, provided about $67,000 to build the church in Albion in honor of his parents. The church opened in January 1895 after some anxiety in waiting for the large Tiffany stained glass window of Christ the Consoler.

The church has always been electrified, with power coming from the hydroelectric dam in Waterport, Lattin said.

Dave Miller of the Sandstone Society welcomed nominations for the 2018 Hall of Fame Class. For more information, click here.

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Medina Sandstone Society seeks nominations for Hall of Fame

Photo by Tom Rivers: St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Batavia is one of many churches in the region built of Medina sandstone. Last year, the Medina Sandstone Society inducted the Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame, the first building from Batavia to be enshrined.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 April 2018 at 1:29 pm

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame, started in 2013, will be inducting its 2018 class this coming October. Nominations for induction are now being sought.

People from anywhere can send their choices for induction directly to the Hall of Fame Committee of the Medina Sandstone Society by mailing the nomination to the Medina Sandstone Society, PO Box 25, Medina, N.Y., 14103. Or a nomination may be sent electronically by filling out the online form (click here).

The Hall of Fame Committee will consider nominations from previous years not already selected, and any new nominations received by July 31.

The home of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame has been established in Medina’s City Hall, a structure itself made of the same brownstone quarried in the Medina area for over 100 years. The initial Hall of Fame class included 6 structures located in and around Western New York. The 2017 class included 4 more structures including buildings from Jamestown, Rochester, Albion and Batavia.

Hall of Fame Committee members Jim Hancock (chairman), Dave Miller and Don Colquhoun will research all nominations and make a site visit. Criteria for consideration shall include age, beauty, longevity, structural soundness and architectural uniqueness.

If possible nomination information should have full background and documentation, and, at the very least, should give a name and phone number to be contacted for further information or a website.

Four new inductees were added to the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame on Oct. 19, 2017, including First Presbyterian Church in Albion, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester, Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia, and First Lutheran Church of Jamestown. Pictured in front from left: Cathy Vail, CFO for Holy Sepulchre; Lynn Sullivan, CEO of Holy Sepulcre; Tim McGee, elder at First Presbyterian Church in Albion; and Twyla Boyer, First Presbyterian’s pastor. Back row: Brenda Gagliano, Holy Sepulchre’s records coordinator; Dan Nagle, pastor of First Lutheran Church in Jamestown; Jim Jacobs, facilities director for Batavia City School District which owns and maintains Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia; Rob Conrad, director of Richmond Memorial; and Chris Dailey, superintendent of Batavia City School District.

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Medina Sandstone Society will offer first bus tour

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 April 2018 at 3:18 pm

Will stop at sites that are in Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame

Photo by Tom Rivers: The blossoms were in bloom by the front entrance of Mount Albion Cemetery in this photo from May 10, 2015. The front arch is made of Medina sandstone, one of many sandstone features in the historic cemetery.

The Medina Sandstone Society has sponsored many historic walking tours in Medina in recent years. The organization is planning another tour on April 29, but for the first time the Sandstone Society will take a bus to visit numerous sites.

The bus tour will highlights buildings and sites that are all in the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame. Bill Lattin, the retired Orleans County historian, will serve as tour guide.

The group will go inside some of the buildings on the tour. Some spots will just be a quick visit without going inside.

“This is something new we’re trying,” said Jim Hancock, president of the Sandstone Society.  “We have hosted walking tours around historic downtown Medina in the past, but this time we’re renting a tour bus and having a guided tour around Orleans County of beautiful sandstone structures which, incidentally, are inducted into our famous Hall of Fame.”

Lattin will point on the different architectural styles with the buildings, and show some of the different colors and sizes in the sandstone.

The tour starts at 1 p.m. on April 29 at Holy Trinity Parish (St. Mary’s Catholic Church) and West Avenue and then goes to the former Armory (now the Orleans County YMCA) on Pearl Street and then St. John’s Episcopal Church on East Center Street.

The bus then heads to Albion to see the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church, First Presbyterian Church and Mount Albion Cemetery. The group then heads to Holley and St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Hillside Cemetery, where the chapel has the only flying buttress in the county.

The group is scheduled to be back in Medina at 5:30 p.m.

The Sandstone Society is charging $15 for members (stonecutters) and $20 for the general public to go on the tour.

Seating is limited and registration is required. A reservation and check payable to Medina Sandstone Society, can be sent to PO Box 25, Medina, NY 14103. For additional information, send an email to Sue Holland (shollan2@rochester.rr.com).

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4 sites inducted into Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 October 2017 at 6:10 pm

Presbyterian Church in Albion, Batavia library, Rochester cemetery and Jamestown church join exclusive club

Photo by Tom Rivers: Four new inductees were added to the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame this afternoon, including First Presbyterian Church in Albion, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester, Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia, and First Lutheran Church of Jamestown. Pictured in front from left: Cathy Vail, CFO for Holy Sepulchre; Lynn Sullivan, CEO of Holy Sepulcre; Tim McGee, elder at First Presbyterian Church in Albion; and Twyla Boyer, First Presbyterian’s pastor. Back row: Brenda Gagliano, Holy Sepulchre’s records coordinator; Dan Nagle, pastor of First Lutheran Church in Jamestown; Jim Jacobs, facilities director for Batavia City School District which owns and maintains Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia; Rob Conrad, director of Richmond Memorial; and Chris Dailey, superintendent of Batavia City School District.

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame inducted four new members into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame, bringing the number of inductees in the HOF to 24 since the first class was inducted in 2013.

The new inductees include the First Presbyterian Church in Albion, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester, Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia, and First Lutheran Church of Jamestown.

The Presbyterian Church is the ninth site from Orleans County in the Hall of Fame. Genesee has its first entry with the library in Batavia. Jamestown and Chautauqua County are also making their debut in the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame with the First Lutheran Church. Holy Sepulchre is second site from Rochester to join the HOF.

The Hall of Fame Committee – Jim Hancock, David Miller and Don Colquhoun – make road trips to all of the nominees and do research on the buildings. Hancock, the Sandstone Society president, said he has developed a far deeper appreciation for the local quarried stone.

“We have been truly amazed over the years of the multitude of buildings that are still standing from a seemingly indestructible building material,” Hancock.

The Hall of Fame inductees all deserve praise for maintaining what are often cavernous structures, Hancock said. All of the inductees today shared stories of recent costly renovations, from mortar repointings to new slate roofs.

The following were inducted in the Class of 2016, with the descriptions courtesy of Medina Sandstone Society:

• First Presbyterian Church of Albion

Jim Hancock, right, reads the plaque about the First Presbyterian Church in Albion, which was represented by elder Tim McGee and pastor Twyla Boyer.

The First Presbyterian Church is a beautiful example of rose colored Medina Sandstone. The church commissioned famed architect Andrew Jackson Warner from Rochester to come up with a design for the new church.

It is rumored that the building committee told the architect they wanted a building like his First Presbyterian Church he built in 1871 in Rochester, but with a steeple taller than the Albion Baptist Church. The steeple was to be 175 feet, taller by 15 feet. Construction began in 1874 and completed and dedicated in 1875 and for over 140 years the bells in the majestic bell tower have been calling worshipers to service every Sunday.

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Boyer spoke during the Hall of Fame induction at Medina City Hall, where the plaques are on display. She said the Albion congregation has been a dedicated steward of the building.

“It is a beautiful church,” she said. “It is a pleasure to be there.”

McGee said the congregation has tackled a recent major interior renovation and last year had to fix the slate roof.

“We continue to make progress preserving the church,” he said. “It’s just beautiful inside.”

• Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia

Rob Conrad, the library director, praised the Batavia City School District for its ongoing maintenance of the historic site.

The Richmond Memorial Library is a beautiful example of light gray Medina Sandstone and red Albion stone. The style is Richardsonian Romanesque and was designed by Rochester architect James Cutler. The Richmond Library employs the style of two-tone sandstone in a random ashlar pattern with a battered foundation and a steep gable roof.

Mrs. Mary Richmond donated a piece of land at the rear of the family property and construction of a library began on July 11, 1887 and was dedicated on March 12, 1889. Mrs. Richmond donated $24,000 towards the cost and insisted on using local labor to build this magnificent building.

The library was named after her son Dean Richmond, Jr., who died in his youth. Mrs. Richmond, noted for her charity, then donated the library to the Union Free School District. The Richmond Library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was registered on July 24, 1974.

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Rob Conrad, library director, said he and the staff are thrilled to see the library go into the Hall of Fame. He praised the Batavia City School District for its ongoing commitment to maintain the site. Conrad said he is impressed by the communities that rallied their dollars to build such impressive buildings in the region, using Medina Sandstone.

“You see the beauty of the buildings and their ingenuity,” he said.

• Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester

Lynn Sullivan, CEO of Holy Sepulchre, accepts the award for cemetery.

All Souls’ Chapel, designed by noted architect Andrew Jackson Warner, was built in 1876, and has become the centerpiece of the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester, N.Y. The small but graceful building features a steep slate roof, supporting hammer beams, and exquisitely designed stained glass windows featuring the 14 stations of the Cross made in Roermond, Holland.

A companion 100-foot bell tower built in 1886 houses a six crypt mausoleum, the final resting place for the Bishops of the diocese including Bishop Bernard McQuaid, the founder of the cemetery. The Chapel as well as the two gate houses and 1.36-mile stone wall surrounding the cemetery are all made of beautifully preserved and restored red Medina Sandstone.

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Holy Sepulchre is “synonymous with Medina Sandstone,” said Lynn Sullivan, the cemetery’s chief executive officer. The cemetery is committed to keeping up the historic chapel and bell tower.

“We love Medina Sandstone,” she said. “It’s what the cemetery is known for.”

• First Lutheran Church in Jamestown

The Rev. Dan Nagle is proud of the church in Jamestown, which has 1,100 seats and spectacular stained-glass windows.

First Lutheran congregation was organized by Swedish immigrants in 1856. The construction of their present beautiful cathedral made entirely of red Medina sandstone was started in 1892 and completed in 1901.

It is a magnificent structure and includes a 153-foot-tall bell tower which still functions today. The congregation takes great pride in maintaining the beauty of the church which dominates the city’s skyline.

Many internal and external improvements and restorations have occurred over the years. The interior includes a historic 1901 Hook and Hastings pipe organ rebuilt in 1955, two tiered seating, and numerous beautifully detailed stained glass windows.

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The Swedish immigrants who founded the church mortgaged their homes ensure the construction would move forward at the church, the Rev. Dan Nagle said.

He leads the church today and remains humbled by the sacrifice and vision of the congregation in the 1890s.

For more on the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame, click here. (The plaques were are made and donated by Takeform Architectural Graphics in Medina.)

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Sandstone Trust has grants available for community projects in Medina area

Staff Reports Posted 12 October 2017 at 11:44 am

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Trust is making several thousand dollars available in grants to community organizations and projects.

The grants generally range from $200 to $500 and are awarded to qualifying not-for-profit organizations and/or programs in the Medina, Ridgeway and Shelby region.

Funding is intended to help programs that clearly benefit this community and that have favorable tax and regulatory status.

The community endowment has given out more than $25,000 over the past seven years. Some projects benefitted since 2011 include improvements to the veterans’ plot at Boxwood Cemetery, downtown Christmas lighting, Lee-Whedon Memorial Library, Medina Historical Society, Medina Business Association, The Arc of Genesee Orleans, YMCA, Orleans Renaissance Group, CAC pre-school, school-parent activities, downtown clock project, Medina Tourism Program, Parade of Lights, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Family Literacy, Millville Cemetery Association and other groups.

To apply for a grant, organization leaders need to fill out a Sandstone Trust Application form and mail to Sandstone Trust, Post Office Box 25, Medina, by the application deadline, Nov. 17.

Application forms can be obtained as follows: In person at Medina Parts Co. (NAPA) 345 N. Main St. or Michael Zelazny, CPA 511 Main St.; By regular mail request sent to Sandstone Trust, PO Box 25, Medina, NY 14103; or online from the Sandstone Trust web page, www.sandstonesociety.org.

Questions may be sent by email at sandstonesociety@gmail.com or calling Michael Zelazny, CPA at 585-798-1006.

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Nominations sought for Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame

Posted 20 June 2017 at 9:14 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse was built nearly 200 years ago in 1822. It is one of the oldest Medina sandstone structure of significant size. The 40-foot-high lighthouse tower is the oldest surviving lighthouse on the south side of Lake Ontario. The lighthouse is one of many notable Medina sandstone buildings that is yet to make the Hall of Fame.

Press Release, Medina Sandstone Society

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame, started in 2013, will be inducting its 2017 class this coming October. Nominations for induction are now being sought.

People from anywhere can send their choices for induction directly to the Hall of Fame Committee of the Medina Sandstone Society by mailing the nomination to the Medina Sandstone Society, PO Box 25, Medina, N.Y., 14103. Or a nomination may be sent electronically using the online address: www.sandstonesociety.org/hof-nominations.

This year’s class will include nominations from previous years not already selected, and any new nominations received by July 30.

The home of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame has been permanently established in the City Hall of Medina, a structure itself made of the same brownstone quarried in the Medina area for over 100 years.

The initial Hall of Fame class included 6 structures located in and around western NY. The 2016 class included 4 more structures including one from Buffalo, one from Watertown, NY, one from Canandaigua, NY, and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Holley.

Jim Hancock, chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee, along with Dave Miller and Don Colquhoun will research all nominations which will include a site visit. Criteria for consideration shall include age, beauty, longevity, structural soundness, and architectural uniqueness. If possible nomination information should have full background and documentation, and, at the very least, should give a name and phone number to be contacted for further information or a website.

It took 14 years to build the Million-Dollar Staircase in the State Capitol. The big steps, all 444, are made from Medina sandstone. The staircase is 119 feet tall and was completed in 1897. Governors, state legislators and other power brokers have all used these steps. The Staircase has been nominated previously for the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame.

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Sandstone Heritage: Dunkirk built church edifice of Medina sandstone a century ago

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 April 2017 at 8:45 am

DUNKIRK – A century ago, when Dunkirk was booming from the railroad industry, a congregation built a large church edifice at 601 Washington Ave.

The church shows the wealth of the congregation and the small city in Chautauqua County at the time. Besides using high-quality Medina sandstone, the church has three very large stained glass windows, and numerous smaller windows.

The First United Methodist Church in Dunkirk has large, striking stained-glass windows. The one on the left depicts the The Ascension of Christ, which shows the apostles watching in awe as the resurrected Christ ascends to Heaven. The window on the right shows Christ as the Good Shepherd.

I stopped by the church on Easter. I was in the area visiting my parents and other family. I saw this church a few months ago when I was home scouting for the Civil War Memorial in Dunkirk. There is a stone statue of a soldier in a park next to the church.

Greg Cole, husband of the church’s pastor Judy Cole, gave me a brief tour of the church after the 11 a.m. service on Sunday. I told Cole I was building a database of Medina sandstone sites, and would pass the photos along to the Medina Sandstone Society. I told Cole I also like to feature the sites on the Orleans Hub, showing that our local stone has been used in important community buildings all over the state – and beyond.

Mr. Cole said people stop by periodically for tours. They want to see the inside of the church with the enormous stained-glass windows. Many have commented the church was built with Medina sandstone. “You’re known all around the world,” he said about Medina sandstone.

There are about 40 people attend Sunday services. The church hosts monthly dinners for the community, including one on Tuesday. It also has a ministry for people who are homeless, offering a clothing closet, food pantry, household items, laundry facilities, showers and a place to rest, along with a meal. The church also offers temporary overnight emergency shelter.

A cornerstone indicates the church was built in 1916, replacing one from 1845, but inside a sign says it the church was finished in 1918. Mr. Cole said it took about two years to build the church, with construction starting in 1916.

Jesus is portrayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, where he prayed before he was betrayed and would be crucified. This is one of three large windows depicting Jesus. Mr. Cole said the windows were created by the Pittsburgh Art Glass Company.

This close-up shows Jesus as the Good Shepherd.

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Batavia is home to 2 grand churches made of Medina sandstone

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 October 2016 at 10:31 am

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102316_batbaptist1Photos by Tom Rivers

BATAVIA – In 1890-91, a towering church made of Medina sandstone took shape at 306 East Main St. in Batavia.

First Baptist Church used rough-faced gray Medina sandstone and Albion redstone to build one of  Batavia’s most striking landmarks.

The two types of sandstone in gray and red “create decorative patterns,” according to The Architectural Heritage of Genesee County, an impressive book on the inventory of Genesee’s most striking residences, churches and public buildings.

The Genesee County Landmark Society published the exhaustive book in 1988. The Baptist Church is on the cover.

The book lists Pierce and Dockstader of Elmira as the architects and John Shaefer as the local contractor. The structure has many characteristics of Richardson Romanesque with rounded windows. (Click here for more on Richardson Romanesque, first used in Buffalo in 1870 with the Richardson Olmsted Complex.)

“The extraordinary elongated round tower is actually a chimney stack,” according to Architectural Heritage of Genesee County. “The typical wide rounded arch forms the top half of the stained glass window facing Main Street.”

Catherine Roth headed the book project for the Landmark Society. In the book’s preface, she said the Landmark Society created the book to encourage the recognition of architecture as an art form that should be maintained and enjoyed.

“The Landmark Society feels architecture is a heritage that should be cherished and handed down through the generations as moments in history that cannot be preserved in any other way,” Roth wrote.

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102316_batstmarys2St. Mary’s Catholic Church

Fifteen years after First Baptist opened, Catholics completed their own church made of Medina sandstone. St. Mary’s Catholic Church was completed in 1906 at 20 Ellicott St.

The church was made of rusticated Medina sandstone and is the oldest Catholic church building in use in Batavia.

The church was designed by John Copeland of Buffalo and John Pickert of Batavia was the contractor.

“Pointed arched windows including ones of stained glass depicting the life of Christ, small side projections suggesting buttresses and a crenellated bell tower are all Gothic design elements,” according to Architectural Heritage.

I was concerned St. Mary’s might close with the recent downsizing in the Catholic diocese. The parish in Batavia also had St. Anthony’s, a more recent building near Richmond Memorial Library (also a spectacular Medina sandstone building.)

The parish opted to keep St. Mary’s open. St. Anthony’s has been acquired by City Church and, after months of renovations, will have its first Sunday service at St. Anthony’s on Nov. 13 at noon.

The parish about a decade ago did extensive renovations to St. Mary’s, especially inside the building.

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This is the only church I’ve noticed where the letters are protruding, and not etched into the stone. It is a magnificent achievement by the stonecutters from more than a century ago.

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This church is a showcase of the red sandstone.

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