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E. H. Butler Library, Buffalo State, The State University of New York

Archives & Special Collections: First Congregation Church of Niagara Falls

The Monroe Fordham Regional History Center

First Congregational United Church of Christ (Niagara Falls)

First Congregational is one of Niagara Fall’s oldest and most historic churches.  For over 150 years, First Congregational has been an important house of worship and community center in the city of Niagara Falls.  The history of the church begins in 1853 when a number of people met to discuss the establishment of formal religious worship in an old brick school house located on Ontario Ave (now 11th).  Prayer meetings and services followed but eventually a desire to build a church soon followed.

A lot of land was donated by members, including the stone used to build the church.  The cornerstone was laid on September 10, 1855.  The main auditorium was finished in Fall 1857 and on October 29, 1857 First Congregational Church was dedicated.

A quick glance at old records and you will find membership to include numerous pioneer families of Niagara Falls, many of which streets are named after today.  Candles were first used to light the auditorium, which gave way to gas in 1860.  Then later electricity was added to the church.  

First Congregational Church’s story is one that has seen the growth and decline of Niagara Falls.  Still today, it is a very relevant house of worship in the city at a time in which we are seeing churches close. 

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