651 Washington St.
Hours: VIP Access: 9:00 am/General Public: 10:00 am to 11:30am; 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Last admittance: 3:30 pm
Photography and filming allowed
Wheelchair access: Yes, Ellicott Street entrance.
Public restrooms: Yes
Offering: Self-guided tours
Building Description: The stained glass windows depict Jesus teaching in the Temple, the Flight into Egypt and St. Joseph holding a lily. The architectural style of the church is Romanesque Revival/Basilica. It was designed by Patrick Keely who also designed St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral. The 1963 renovations were overseen by Roswell E. Pfohl.
The parish, founded in 1851 in response to the St. Louis Church trustees’ hostility to the bishop of Buffalo, quickly outgrew its first church building and opened the current church building on June16, 1867. The parish grammar school started in 1852, occupied the old church building in 1867, and moved to a new building on Ellicott St. in 1874. It continued to its close in 1949 as the area gradually lost population to the suburbs. To the north of the church Canisius High School and College were established in 1870 and remained there (on the current post office land) until 1910 when the college moved to Main and Jefferson and 1949 when the high school moved to Delaware and W. Ferry. A fire during a violent thunderstorm on May 23, 1962 completely destroyed the interior of the building, except for two statues and several small windows depicting angels. Services resumed in the church on Sept.12, 1963 while restoration and repair continued for 4 more years during which the bell tower was lowered some 20 feet. The façade and tower of the church were illuminated in 2018 and the wrought iron fence and gate were installed in 2019.