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The rise and fall of Salem Evangelical Reformed Church was quick and messy, literally. The ceilings cave in on themselves, and the outer brick work just barely holds the structure together anymore.

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In 1873 when the German congregation originally formed, the structure was but a mere wooden shack but in the years to come, change would bring forth new light and new followers. Forty years later, architect Jacob Oberkircher took the wooden structure and rebuilt it into the new church fairly similar to the last, but with a much needed upgrade.

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As of the early 2000’s, the church was still standing, but the stained glass windows started shattering and the floors started caving. Its very unclear as to when the building officially closed, but by 2012, the building was abandoned and the owner at the time managed to hold regular meetings in the house across the street.

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The former minister is nowhere to be found, even after multiple attempts to locate him for his input on the downfall of Salem Evangelical.

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On december 6th of 2011, a New York based investor named Mohammed Kabir purchased the church for $1,000. Some say his only contribution to the church was placing a sign in front reading:

“NOTICE.
Owners name: Mohammed Kabir.
Owners address: xxx East xth Street.
Brooklyn, NY 11218

This sign has been erected by the city of Buffalo as a
public service in the war against slums and blight.”

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We had the pleasure of exploring this church with a good friend of ours, and the creator behind this website: Bill Finan, whom showed us the building. We had visited in March of 2015. (I’m sorry this post has been delayed for so long.)

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As of May 2015, the building is officially marked for demolition. We’ll see how long that takes.

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You know, its very hard to think about a holy place that is thought to protect and save, could kill you at any moment. Structurally, that is.

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We watch as the paint chips, the glass blows around in pieces like a holy sand storm, the lights from the ceiling dip lower with each passing day.

The floors cave and create little sink holes of hymns and church pews, shattered glass and wooden frames.

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It was hard for my camera to focus properly, with rainbow beams shining down from the uppermost corners of the beautifully designed windows.

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I think my favorite part about this building was this little mural behind where the minister would deliver his services. It just has this look of loneliness, knowing its done its part, and will be there until the building collapses.

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A death drop separates the main floor from the basement, and this was one I had no interest in seeing.

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The upper part of the balcony SURPRISINGLY was still in tact, we ventured our way up there, and quickly realized our decision making process was flawed.

In a few short pictures, you will see what lies behind the balcony walls, a room of magnificent beauty.

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The carpet is now paved with shards of stained glass, it gives it character.

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To our surprise, what seems to be an activity room underneath the huge cloth in the middle of the main floor.

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The most notable part of this church is the infamous front doors that are boarded and say “STAY OUT”, well heres a look from right behind the uninviting passage.

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The darkest portions of this church lie behind the front doors, barely even a beam of light illuminate the staircase leading to the balcony.

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At the top of the balcony, the biggest window sheds light on the entire church and the rainbow beams reflect off of the lonesome pews. It’s quite the sight.

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Like earlier stated, behind the balcony walls lies a lonesome room, more like a closet.
Why is there a stained glass window in a closet, but more importantly, why is there a cross thats almost too big for the room?

This building is breathtaking.