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Our Sandstone Heritage

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Silver Creek parish built church, school with sandstone

Photos by Tom Rivers

In the tiny village of Silver Creek, the Chautauqua County community built a striking Catholic school made of brick and Medina sandstone in the 1950s. It appears to have been done in two stages, with the project wrapping up in 1960.

The Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish also built a Catholic church of sandstone about a half century earlier in 1908. The school and church make for a powerful one-two sandstone combo in this village by Lake Erie.

I’ve driven by the school a few times on the way to see my mother and father. Last night, I stopped with my camera.

The property at 165 Central Ave. was inundated with water during a flood in August 2009. The water caused $1 million in damage to the church, rectory and school.

The parish worked for 16 months to restore the site, replacing warped flooring, walls and boilers, and making numerous other repairs.

Father Daniel Fiebelkorn has only been pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel for about year when the great flood hit Silver Creek.

“I was helping out that weekend,” he told Western New York Catholic, a Diocesan newspaper on Nov. 8, 2010. “Before the flood, I was complimenting the people on how beautiful the church was, and afterwards as we experienced the devastation, it was overwhelming. But the people themselves just set about getting to work. From day one, they were here cleaning and doing what they could to save it. There was a strong desire to do as much as they could to rebuild.”

I tip my hat to this parish for building wonderful structures, choosing a hearty stone that can withstand the elements. And I salute the parish for working to restore the sites when disaster struck with the flood.