Michigan Street Baptist Church Stabilization Begins | Local company
Construction has begun to stabilize the roof and foundation of the Michigan Street Baptist Church, as community leaders, local officials and the state undertake a $ 1.3 million effort to preserve the structure pre-Civil War history and allow more visitors to what was once the last stop on the Underground Railroad for former slaves seeking to escape to Canada.
The work is being undertaken by the Buffalo Niagara Freedom Station Coalition, a nonprofit group formed in 2001 that owns the church at 511 Michigan Ave., and seeks to protect and promote its heritage. Located in the African American Heritage Hallway on Michigan Street, the church was built by African Americans in 1845 and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974.
“By preserving the knowledge of our past, we gain the real possibilities of our future,” said Rachel Henderson, vice president of the Freedom Station Coalition and daughter of Bishop William Henderson, who led the fight to save the church demolition and gain recognition for its history before his death in January at the age of 85. “As we continue to learn more about the history of our ancestors, we are building a much brighter and exponentially more progressive world.”
The goal of the current project is to ensure the structural integrity of the church, address security concerns and provide better access for visitors with disabilities. The work will include repairing the foundation, reinforcing the roof and other renovations.