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WORKMEN BEGIN RAZING HISTORIC OLD BUILDING

Gas station to replace hall

where Cleveland was nominated mayor.

-Buffalo Courier Express March, 24, 1935

(01.27.02) Historic old St. Stephens Hall, Franklin and Swan streets and The Terrace, is being torn down to make way for a gas station.

The fire swept building, which witnessed stormy political battles in bygone days the cultured voices of great singers and lecturers and hummed to the vibrations of a vigorous press will be obliterated within a month. A ten-year lease has been taken for the site by Texaco Oil Corporation.

Grover Cleveland was nominated for mayor of Buffalo in St. Stephen's Hall in 1881. Edward C. Callanan, 107 Ashland Avenue, who was at the meeting which sent Grover Cleveland a step further on his political climb to the White House, recalled last night that the nomination meeting was to have been held in Trivoli Hall in Washington Street, but the crowd was too large, so the meeting was shifted to St. Stephen's Hall.

Historic Scenes recalled

After the nomination Cleveland appeared on the landing of an outside stairway and made a short speech. Many other political figures in the history of the city and county were nominated there.

The hall was built by members of the Catholic Young Men's Association in 1874.

Bishop Stephen V. Ryan was actively interested in forming a social and cultural center for young men of his diocese and the association was the result. It quickly grew, but there was much head shaking among their elders when the young men began construction of the hall, which cost $50,000, in those days an enormous sum for a group of young men to raise. They had little difficulty for the hall became a popular meeting place.

European and national lecturers held forth there on free silver, woman suffrage, temperance, civil service reforms and especially on the Home Rule movement in Ireland. The Irish Land League had branches all over the United States and the local group was among the most viciferous and aggressive. Leaders of the local group included Anselem J. Smith, T.J. O'Brien, William J. Forsythe, Dr. William C. Callanan and Edward C. Callanan.

 

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St. Stephen's Hall,
St. Stephen's Hall, a landmark in the downtown section for more than 60 years, is being demolished. The historic building, which was a popular meeting place several generations ago, will be torn down within 30 days. A gasoiline station will replace it. -Buffalo Courier Express March 1935

Mr. Callanan recalled yesterday that one of the first of the street gas lamps was installed in front of the cathedral rectory. The escaping gas made a howling noise that was heard inside the hall across the street and seriously interfered with a concert which was in progress. One of the largest musical audiences to fill the old place was that which came to hear Elizabeth Cronyn, after her triumphant tour of Europe, in which she had Bon Bulow as an accompanist.

The Catholic Union and Times made its home in the old building from a few years after at was started until 1933, when fire swept through the old building. In the rear of the building was a one-story addition, which in late years was used for storage of type, but originally was built to house the horses owned by Bishop Ryan.

Before St. Stephen's Hall was built, the site was occupied by the old colonial home of the Blossom family.

-Source: Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Scrabook Collection

 

 

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