History of St. Margaret's Church

In the fall of 1916, Most Reverend Dennis Dougherty, fifth Bishop of Buffalo purchased nine acres of land in the north section of the City for a parish to meet the needs of the people in an area that showed promise of rapid growth. The tract was bounded by Hertel, Saranac, Linden, and North Park. The purchase price was $ 45,000 covered by a bank mortgage.

     

On December 6th, 1916, Reverend Thomas J. Timmons was appointed first pastor and founder of the new parish, Bishop Dougherty wanted in this area. The name chosen was suggested by Father Timmons. He recalled a wish expressed by the late Bishop Colton to name the next parish after his beloved sister Mrs. Margaret Bingham, deceased and St. Margaret of Scotland. Bishop Daugherty was pleased and graciously gratified Bishop Colton's desires. 

     

The area that was picked was found to be a swamp on Fr. Timmons first visit to the site. The streets marking the boundaries were nothing more than mud lanes having no sidewalks, water mains or sewerage. In his anxiety to have the modern equipment of every kind installed in the area, Father Timmons assumed the burden of the debt.

     

On Sunday, December 10, the announcement was made in the Cathedral that Father Timmons was appointed to the new parish and on the following Thursday, December 14th, 1916 those few in the vicinity saw wagons loaded with lumber drive up to the vacant site and unload. At noon of that day a force of carpenters, under the direction of Charles Fimiani began construction of the first little church erected in exactly fifty hours on the Southwest corner of Hertel and North Park Avenue.

     

As happens in Buffalo almost every year a blizzard hit on the morning of December 15th, the workers tried and tried but at Father Timmons request work was halted at noon on Saturday, December 16. Mr. Fimiani and Mrs. Adolpgh Yung, Father Timmons first convert who brought steaming pots of coffee gave arguments but the work was stopped. The storm raged on until Wednesday, December 20. Then they returned under adverse conditions. The men shoveled and swept away the accumulated piles of snow and began the construction of the church. On December 23 about 10:30 PM the work was finished.

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