Niagara Gazette


April 28, 2014

HIGGS: First Unitarian Church began in 1913

Niagara Gazette — During the history of Niagara Falls in the early 1900s many new religious denominations were formed and many statement churches were built in various architectural styles. The Gothic style dominated as we have learned from previous columns. This week we visit something different but no less of a city landmark.

Back in 1913 several city residents felt the need of a church of a more liberal nature. Working from a Niagara Gazette feature by Dick Klug dated Sept. 23, 1961, and the church website I found that J. Allen Johnson was the leader in the drive to set up a new church in 1913. He and a fellow engineer, John W. Beckman accompanied the Rev. Richard W. Boynton of the First Unitarian Church of Buffalo to the Niagara Falls Odd Fellows Hall on Jan. 4, 1914. He had compiled a list of those interested in a “liberal religion” and meetings were held over the next few years at various locations with a small group and this led to the establishment of the First Unitarian Church of Niagara Falls.

During 1918, the Meadville, Pennsylvania District Unitarian Conference passed a resolution recognizing the need for the establishment of a Unitarian Church in the growing City of Niagara Falls. Their resolution urged the “American Unitarian Association to cooperate strongly with the people there (Niagara Falls) toward

the end of establishing a permanent church in that permanent and growing city.”

The local Niagara Falls church was organized on Oct. 17, 1920, with 34 charter members. It was named the First Unitarian Church and the minister was the Rev. Dr. Orville Bruce Swift. He came from Middletown where he had been a Congregational minister.

In the early days, the church held services at the Gray & Trigg Building. The American Unitarian Association assisted with the purchase of a lot at 639 Main St. on Feb. 25, 1921. The church was incorporated in April and the AUA contributed $10,000 toward the construction costs of a building and held the deed to the land. The congregation voted to join the merged Unitarian Universalist structure in 1960 and became known as the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Niagara.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • NIA Hamilton, Ken mug HAMILTON: Popeye's '7-Minute' guide to educating southerners -- and me! Writer Mark Twain said that when he 14, his father was so ignorant that he could hardly stand to have the old man around. But upon turning 21, Twain said that he was astonished by how much his father had learned in just seven years.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA DeLuca, Michele mug DELUCA: Wegmans call warns of bad fruit I was humming to myself the other day, getting ready for work on a lovely summer morning, when I decided to check my messages on the house phone. I hit the play button and heard a message from Wegmans warning me about some fruit that I had bought at their store. As quick as that, a message with the scary potential to change my life or the life of someone I love.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Ortt jumps on drive to repeal the SAFE Act It was a no-brainer for North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt, a Republican candidate for the 62nd Senate District seat, to join the forces to repeal the state's SAFE Act.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Verplank: Turn back the clock at the Porter Cup

    July 24, 2014

  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Tourists attracted here by history, beauty, politics As my friend and colleague, writer Don Glynn has so artfully portrayed over the decades, "For many years after the dawn of aviation, U.S. presidents visiting Western New York started at the Niagara Falls Airport. The reason: The main runway here was longer than that of the Buffalo airport and could easily accommodate Air Force One, the presidential aircraft."

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob mug CONFER: A constitutional convention is not the answer For the past few years it has been popular for folks of the right persuasion (Republicans and neoconservatives) to call for a constitutional convention ("Con-Con") in hopes of passing a balanced budget amendment (BBA.) A lot of people have jumped on that bandwagon; no doubt your email inbox or Facebook news feeds have shown that.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Scheer, Mark mug CITY DESK: Hobel will be missed

    Lost in all the hoopla surrounding last week’s announced retirement of state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, was the loss of another well-known figure in local government and politics.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: More pastors, a new church and more of everything Before I go further back in time, I want to just go back to last week where I took my own advice and spent a couple of hours at the Como, where I enjoyed one of their traditional "parade of bowls and plates of great salads, pasta and meat dishes" and listened to longtime friends of Tom Darro roast him with humor, accolades and best wishes. And best of all no one who came to the microphone mentioned garbage totes or carts. It was a welcome relief.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Border Patrol chief examines deadly acts A former Buffalo police chief now has the formidable task of reviewing cases where border agents have used deadly force.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SINGER: Nostalgia for nostalgia: Where will it end? Not only has there been a huge nostalgia boom in America, but we're now getting to the point where there's much nostalgia for nostalgia! Maybe signifying that nostalgia will wear itself out, or, as in the old adage, that it ain't what it used to be?

    July 20, 2014

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page