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Viewpoints . . . then closed 1993; demolished Letters
We’re tops in WNY Dear Editor: one of its regular club events in
Sacred Heart (1875-1973; TSCHÜS CLUB LORELEI the same building it once owned!
The newspaper Buffalo Business First recently ran the headline: sold several times; currently dere- In 1966 a labor of love began
“Germans take the crown as WNY's top ancestral group (followed by lict) construction of a clubhouse, giv- Without doubt, Southtowns
Italians and Polish); see who leads in your neighborhood.” ing a young Club Lorelei a place to Walleye Association is grateful to
St. Agnes (1883-2007; now a call home. Imagine all the energy have Club Lorelei return a fair
The story by G. Scott Thomas began: “German-Americans are the Buddhist temple) those charter members expended! portion of their purchase price in
strongest ethnic group in Western New York, according to new They bought a parcel of land deter- six years of hall and bar use rent-
figures for 86 prominent ZIP codes across the region. Holy Name of Jesus (1887- mined to build this wonderful als! Club Lorelei’s game plan was
2006; now a Protestant church) structure, and they succeeded. to merely deplete its funds to the
“Germans hold the edge in 30 of those ZIPs. Italian-Americans are They created something special – end. From the reopening of mem-
the leaders in 22 local ZIP codes, and Polish-Americans are third with St. Mary Magdalene (1899- a German social club to surely far berships in 2014 to the permanent
15.” 1978; now a prosperous Protestant outlive them and flourish – an or- closing of the organization today,
church) ganization to pass along to their membership applications on ta-
Thomas said the information was based on the Census Bureau’s children, and the next generation, bles were prohibited. Zero effort
2016 American Community Survey. (Respondents to questions about St. Gerard (1902-2008; sold and then again and again. Of was allowed “in actively seeking
their heritage were given the choice of reporting one or two ancestral to Muslim group with plans to course other members would new members” as was unfortu-
groups.) convert into a mosque) eventually take their place. Of nately acclaimed in an earlier
course there would be membership 2015 edition of The German Citi-
The German Citizen look at the survey and it reports that in Erie St. Joachim (1905-1993; be- drives to invite in new partici- zen. No one then knew, but today
County, population 922,129, those reporting German ancestry tallied came a Polish parish in 1940s: pants. we know. Management had only a
226,817; Polish 163,117, Irish 156,382, and Italian 149,689. now a Protestant church) So, in a community where pleasing contentment to spend to
around 40 percent claim some the end the fruits of decades of
That it is a sizable population to pull from for German-American St. John Evangelist (1906- German ancestry, why does Club members’ energies.
organizations. But it is not just a game of numbers. In today’s world 2008; sold to developer 2014; now Lorelei no longer exist today?
there is a lot of competition for one’s time and attention. It is, howev- a private event space) Why were there never any mem- Waves of immigrants came to
er, a great starting point. bership invitation flyers at German America and some went out of
St. Matthew (1908-1993; cur- gatherings? Why wouldn’t every their way to establish cultural
Disappearing landmarks along rently derelict) Lorelei member have an applica- clubs and associations if only to
the Germania heritage trail tion ready and willing to hand out? enjoy a “home” away from their
St. Bartholomew (1912-1993; Why instead, did the final officers homeland. In the case of Club
German and Catholic org/directory. Another excellent temporary St. Martin de Porres of Club Lorelei decide to close its Lorelei that reality began a gener-
in Western New York reference is Chuck LaChiusa’s Church 1994-2000; currently part membership 6 years ago then sell ation or two later than most.
Buffalo as an Architectural Muse- of Bissonette House complex) its clubhouse and its grounds?
by Martin Ederer um at Espe- Three years ago, and before Nonetheless, today’s members
Recently a number of us histo- cially interesting on this website is St. Francis de Sales (1912- my original version of this letter were to have been grateful for the
rians and heritage-minded did a now somewhat dated listing of 1981; sold many times; currently [June 22, 2015], I attended the sacrifices of Lorelei’s founders
some informal brainstorming about Buffalo churches assembled in a Protestant church) Annual Meeting where a new and each member in between who
a Germania heritage trail. Having James Napora’s Houses of Wor- board was elected – which com- gave of themselves to see that or-
come fresh off a bruising defeat by ship. It is still an indispensable St. James (1917-2007) prised of the mere swapping of ganization flourish and strength-
the Diocese of Buffalo over heri- resource for all denominations. titles between the President and en. For any group to survive the
tage and culture issues, I confess to Parishes outside of Buffalo Vice President. Sadly, and with no age of time, it needs continuity,
grumbling that we had better hurry Functioning Buffalo Catho- with German origins/identities: discussion allowed, this “new” 2- cooperation, and effort. Members
before there is no heritage and even lic parishes with German origins year board was voted in by its then will always be needed. Volunteers
less interest left. and/or heritage: St. Mary, East Eden (1834; already aged submissive member- will always be sought. But, those
We tend to get nostalgic about reduced to oratory status 2008) ship. Afterwards, when questions individuals should expect no enti-
these things at the point of too lit- St. Louis (founded 1829; Buf- were allowed, my simple question tlements. In our case here, despite
tle, too late. Funny how that works. falo’s first Catholic parish: be- SS. Peter and Paul, Wil- to this new board was: “Do you guests desiring membership, there
Anyhow, the first step is to gather came solidly German by 1840) liamsville (1836; established by intend to spend down the club’s was no intent to allow others to
information and to document, doc- St. John Neumann) funds until it goes to zero with the join so that the Club could further
ument, document. I thought I St. Joseph University (1850) club then going away?” “Yes” was its existence.
would help that process along by St. Michael (1851) St. John North the president’s blunt answer.
assembling a list about which I Blessed Trinity (originally Bush/Kenmore (1836; estab- “Why then did you re-open mem- Communities are littered with
know the most: German Catholic mix of German and Irish; 1906) lished by St. John Neumann) bership?” “I voted against it” was bygone ethnic organizations.
parishes in Western New York. St. Bernard (1906) the president’s garbled reply. Some social clubs die due to attri-
I am defining “German parish- SS. Peter and Paul, Ham- Not-for-profit organizations – tion of its community base; others
es” here as parishes formally con- Closed Buffalo German burg (1844) and ethnic groups in particular – due to their own mismanagement.
stituted to serve German Catholic churches (a few have are meant to endure! Organiza- Club Lorelei was purposefully
communities, or parishes that by landed well; some are struggling; Good Shepherd, Pendleton tions such as Club Lorelei were dismantled. The visions of its
virtue of their location were demo- a few are derelict; others are de- (1847; original mission stop for meant to belong to no one and yet founders have been erased. Good-
graphically German at a time molished): St. John Neumann) to everyone. To he who said: bye Club Lorelei.
and/or place when that mattered. “Start your own club!”, I respond:
One thing that becomes immediate- St. Mary Redemptorist St. Mary of the Cataract, Ni- “This wasn’t YOUR club.” Unfor- Orest Iskalo
ly apparent – this is as true of Ger- (1842-1981; burned down 1986) agara Falls (1847; original mis- tunately, Lorelei’s clubhouse was
man Catholics as it is of German sion stop for St. John Neumann) sold, then tied into a 5-year com- Have a question, comment,
Protestants – is that unlike some St. Francis Xavier (1849- mitment to hold each and every or concern about the Upstate
later waves of European immigra- 2007; currently Buffalo Religious St. Cecilia, Sheldon (1848; New York German communi-
tion to the area, German enclaves Arts Center) original mission stop for St. John ty? Contact us at mail @the
were as likely to be as rural as they Neumann; restructured as St. John
were urban. The lists below reflect St. Boniface (1849-1993; Neumann, 2007)
demographic changes and adminis- church demolished 1979) February-March Published by
trative decisions that speak for St. Joseph, Batavia (1849; April-May Buffalo Standard Printing
themselves with no further com- St. Ann Church and Shrine original mission stop for St. John June-July
ment from me. (1858-2008; last Mass 2013; cur- Neumann; restructured as Resur- 3620 Harlem Rd.
For avid genealogists, the dioc- rently for sale and fenced off) rection, 2008) Oktoberfest Guide Cheektowaga, NY 14215
esan website has updated lists of August-September
what parish records ended up St. Vincent de Paul (1864- St. Mary of the Assumption, October-November 716-831-8013
where. See www.buffalodiocese. 1993; currently Montante Cultural Swormville (1849) December-January
Center [theater] at Canisius Col-
lege) St. Mary, Lancaster (1850; For Advertising Sales call:
original mission stop for St. John Michelle Kisluk or
St. Mary of Sorrows (1872- Neumann) Steve Kroczynski
2007; church closed 1985 and cur-
rently King Urban Life Center) St. John Baptist, Alden
St. Nicholas (1874-1981; re-
named St. Benedict the Moor and St. Martin, Langford (1851;
restructured as Epiphany Parish,

Our Lady Help of Chris-
tians, Cheektowaga (established
1852; became parish 1890)

St. Francis of Assisi,
Tonawanda (1852)

St. Mary, Lockport (1859-

Fourteen Holy Helpers, Gar-
denville (1864)

Annunciation, Elma (1905)
Most Holy Redeemer,
Cheektowaga (1913; closed and
sold 2008 to Protestant congrega-
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