St. Joseph Cathedral (Buffalo, New York)

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St. Joseph Cathedral
Saint joseph cathedral.jpg
St. Joseph Cathedral (Buffalo, New York) is located in New York
St. Joseph Cathedral (Buffalo, New York)
Location in New York
42°52′58″N 78°52′42″W / 42.8828°N 78.8782°W / 42.8828; -78.8782Coordinates: 42°52′58″N 78°52′42″W / 42.8828°N 78.8782°W / 42.8828; -78.8782
Location 50 Franklin St.
Buffalo, New York
Country United States
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Website St. Joseph Cathedral
Dedicated July 1, 1855 (1855-07-01)
Consecrated August 21, 1863 (1863-08-21)
Architect(s) Patrick Keely
Style Gothic Revival
Groundbreaking February 6, 1851 (1851-02-06)
Completed 1862
Construction cost US$150,000
Length 120 feet (37 m)
Width 73 feet (22 m)
Materials local stone
Diocese Diocese of Buffalo
Bishop(s) Most Rev. Richard Malone
Rector Rev. Peter Drilling

Saint Joseph Cathedral, is located at 50 Franklin Street, in downtown Buffalo, New York and is currently the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.


Buffalo's first bishop, John Timon, established St. Joseph's in 1847 to be the new diocese's cathedral. Because of the economic situation in the city he raised funds to build the church while he was in Europe. New York architect Patrick C. Keely, who had worked with A. W. N. Pugin, was chosen to design the new church. The cornerstone was laid on February 6, 1851.[1] During construction a storm struck the city off of Lake Erie and destroyed several homes in the area. Bishop Timon allowed the residents to set up tents within the cathedral's walls for several weeks. The cathedral was usable, but not complete, when it was dedicated on July 1, 1855. The south tower was completed in the summer of 1862. Bishop Timon consecrated the completed cathedral on August 21, 1863.

Although the original plans called for two towers on the north and south ends of the facade; only the south tower was built. The Cathedral's tower contained a 43-bell carillon that was made by Bollee & Son, in Le Mans France. At the time of its completion in 1869, the carillon was the largest in America and the third largest in the world.[2] Installed in St. Joseph's in 1870, the bells were too large for the cathedral's tower and never worked properly. Currently all but 2 of the bells have been removed from the church tower. Bishop Stephen V. Ryan had the Lady Chapel built in the rear of the cathedral in 1873. The loft in the rear of the church contains a 3,627 pipe Hook & Hastings organ.[1] The organ was originally built in 1876 for the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, where it was played frequently for concerts. It was moved to the Cathedral following the end of the Exposition in November, 1876.[3]

It was determined that a new cathedral was necessary in Buffalo and so property was bought by Bishop James Quigley at Delaware Avenue and Utica Street beginning in 1902. Italian architect Aristide Leonori designed a new Gothic Revival cathedral. The New St. Joseph Cathedral was constructed from 1912 to 1915, and this church became known as St. Joseph's Old Cathedral. This time both towers of the new cathedral were completed and topped off at 260 feet (79 m).[4] Unfortunately, the cathedral was better suited for Rome's climate rather than Buffalo's.[4] Major repairs had to be made to the north and south transepts in 1924 and the towers were removed in 1927. The exterior marble started to separate from the brick and Bishop Edward D. Head determined in 1976 that repairs would be too costly for the "new" St. Joseph's and the diocese. In 1977 after the demolition of the new cathedral, this "old cathedral" once again became known as St. Joseph's Cathedral.[5]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Napora, James. "History of St. Joseph RC Cathedral". Retrieved 2011-04-16.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ The Catholic church in the United States of America. The province of New York, Section 1. Volume III April 1915: 460-461. Catholic editing company. Retrieved 2011-04-16. 
  3. ^ Owen, Barbara. "Nineteenth-Century American Concert Organ Music". New York: Recorded Anthology of American Music, 1976. LCCN 76-750129.
  4. ^ a b "St. Joseph's [New] Cathedral". Preservation Ready. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  5. ^ Hayden, Joe. "Buffalo's Faith Elevators". Retrieved 2011-04-16. 

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