Ever walk down a street or notice and building and think, “I wonder they built that like that??” Typically I have told you the story of places I’ve visited, but this one seemed too fun to not share despite not having actually been in the building. While visiting the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church in Albion, my guide Bill Lattin walked me outside and pointed across the street and told a story I’ve always thought to be pretty intriguing. After parting ways with Bill that day, I drove around the two churches across the street to get better a look at what transpired.
The Presbyterian Church (not pictured) that sits on Main St in Albion is tall, and not by accident. In 1872 a wealthy parishioner, Elizur Hart, bequeathed a generous $60,000 just so the church could afford to make a spire 175 ft tall, making it taller than the Baptist Church that sits a mere two blocks away on West Park Street. Unfortunately that would be only the first of rivals the Baptist Church would encounter! (Note: In the photo below, Pullman Memorial Universalist Church is all the way to the left, which is actually on the other side of Main St.)
The website Living Places tells the story of the second rival, “When William Stafford, a Baptist, lost an election for County Judge he blamed his defeat on his Baptist friends whom he claimed neglected to support him. In spite, he sold his property adjacent to the Baptist Church to the Catholics, stipulating that St. Joseph’s parish build directly next to the street so as to block the view from Main Street of the Baptist Church.”
As I drove around the block taking photos and marveling at such a deep seated resentment, it was obvious that St. Joseph’s followed through on their end of the deal. While standing in certain places, you can’t see the facade of the Baptist Church at all! Checkout the photos, and next time you’re in Albion take a look for yourself!
Special thanks to our friend Bill Lattin for sharing the fun story with me. Also thanks to our friends Jeri and Lou at the Erie Canal Schoolhouse Bed and Breakfast in Albion for helping procure some of the research on this post!
*This post previously appeared on ExploringTheBurnedOverDistrict.com