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 Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Moreland panel comes back to haunt Cuomo Let's get this straight. That was Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at the microphone in the Syracuse radio station, Dec. 4, 2013, explaining the need for reactivating the anti-corruption panel called the Moreland Commission. "The commission clearly has the legal authority to look at anything they want to look at, including the governor, the attorney-general, the comptroller, etc.," the governor told the listening audience.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • EDITORIAL: A taxing time for Lewiston town officials It's disappointing to learn that a seemingly financially sound community like the Town of Lewiston now finds itself facing 2015 budget crunch that could, of all things, lead to the creation of a new town tax.

    July 31, 2014

  • NIA Krause mug 073114 GUEST VIEW: Arnold represents a fresh start for local Republicans Two years ago, as chairman of the city of Niagara Falls Republicans, the committee and I broke from the traditional policy of the county republicans of endorsing state Sen. George Maziarz for reelection.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Immigration issue belongs to everyone I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up my digital edition of the Washington Post yesterday and found something that I think captures part of the dilemma America faces right this minute; it's a simple question: Who are we, or to put it another way, what do we really stand for?

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob mug new CONFER: It's time the U.S. stopped giving aid to Israel When you see some of the atrocities that Israel has committed in Gaza, including last week's bombing of a United Nations school that was being used as a civilian emergency shelter, you should really wonder why we count them as an ally and why we devote so much of our financial and political resources to the scoundrels.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: A cupcake gets the Niagara Beautification Commission spotlight Not a cupcake per se, but a cute shop in LaSalle operated by a "sweet" lady who is a real dynamo when it comes to running a business.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • EDITORIAL: Isaiah 61 Project breathes new life into city Friday was a big day for the Isaiah 61 Project. It may have been a bigger day for the Falls.

    July 28, 2014

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug [Duplicate] GLYNN: A key factor in luring the convention A natural wonder in the nation's oldest state park isn't the lone factor for selecting Niagara Falls as a convention site.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SINGER: Regional poetry and sad realities If that isn't (or wasn't) poetry, I don't know what is! I'm referring to the self-satisfied, sluggish trot of ice chunks emanating from Lake Erie in early May 2014 -- sauntering, it felt, along the lovely Niagara.

    July 27, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Pleased with increased police patrols It was good to see the Niagara Falls Police Department join forces with other local law enforcement agencies in response to a recent uptick in violent crime.

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
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