Niagara Gazette

Columns

April 21, 2014

HIGGS: St. Peter's Episcopal Church, inside and out

Niagara Gazette — When I had a couple of questions I checked in with Whitney Mallam, a long-time church member who introduced me to Solon Myron Napoleon Whitney (commonly known as “The Major”), one of his relatives from the early days of this church’s history. I was intrigued by some of Whit’s comments and hope to learn more about him in the future.

This week I am using a document prepared by the Niagara Falls Historic Preservation Commission in conjunction with the city of Niagara Falls Planning Office and Ken Zollitsch dated March 2005. The document describes the physical structures of the property and the interior design. The location is described as the northeast corner of Rainbow Boulevard in the downtown area adjacent to a parking lot and two hotels including the 1925-era Hotel Niagara. Visitors returning from a ride around Goat Island, heading to the roundabout or Centennial Circle as it is called are treated to a view of two historic structures one, the Hotel Niagara in the Art Deco period and the other — the Gothic style of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Actually there are three historic views when you glance a bit further down First Street and take in The Giacomo; formerly the United Office Building which was brought back to its Art Deco image as a hotel and apartment complex by the Ellicott Development Corporation a few years ago.

Back to the document, which states that the construction material is grey stone, native to the area, in a 13th century Gothic architectural style with pointed arches, parapet gable ends, buttresses, crenellated tower, Gothic window hoods and a steep slate roof. OK, I had to look up “crenellated” which is defined as “having turrets and battlements in the style of a castle.” Stepping inside, the article tells us “The interior woodwork of the church is walnut and largely hand carved. The floors were originally covered in carpet. The church seats 350 people and includes a Rose window, prominent wood arching, pointed Gothic arches, a delicate wood sanctuary screen with Gothic detailing and a Gothic arched organ pipe recess.” There is also a marble altar.

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