Thanks to Bob and Lisa Stanley and their original salvage efforts, we are able to preserve and display original materials from the old St. Joseph Church, which was located at the Northwest corner of Tenney and Forest in Amherst. The building was constructed c. 1864 and served as the original church building. It was demolished in 1996.
The Stanleys purchased the salvage rights for the old Church, and they were able to obtain materials for preservation, such as wide-planking flooring of American chestnut, stained/leaded glass windows, a couple original pews, floor joists, and other related items. Much of the flooring they salvaged from the building was used in an addition to their home – and that repurposing project turned out great. In the summer of 2014, the Stanleys visited the Museum and decided to donate some extra items from the Church for which they did not have use.
We gratefully picked up these donated materials, including original Chestnut wide-planking floor boards, a couple floor joists, and even a disassembled, original pew from the Church, which was found by the Stanleys in the basement of the building during their salvage operations.
As the third room opens here at the Museum (officially November 27, 2014), allowing for additional display and preservation space and a perfect spot for our research library, we are pleased to employ some of this material in this new space. Some of the floorboards are being turned into shelves for an original case from Col. Vietzen’s Museum. (The other case from his Museum has also found a new home in this room, but it has new glass shelves and mirror glass in the background, whereas the other case has exposed American Chestnut wood.) One of the floor joists from the Church has been turned into support columns for one of the display cases in the new room. Finally, the original pew, after being reassembled, will be a main feature piece in the new display room. The wood that comprises this piece maintains a nice patina.
Photos below, of the original St. Joseph Church are courtesy of Amherst historian Fay Van Nuys Ott.