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The digital version of the 2016-17 Explore Greater Rochester is now available! To access it, click on the image above. 


Places of Worship

Neighborhoods > Places of Worship

When it was built in the 1890s, the soaring St. Michael’s Church at 869 N. Clinton Ave. raised eyebrows in the diocese. The Irish bishop even reprimanded the parish’s German priest for building such a showy church. St. Michael’s is all the more impressive given how it was built: The church’s working-class parishioners, most of them immigrants, mortgaged their houses to pay for construction, says Cynthia Howk, architectural research coordinator for the Landmark Society of Western New York Inc. “These were not people of great wealth, yet they built that fantastic building.” St. Michael’s is made of Lockport sandstone. Its spire, at 220 feet high, is the tallest in the region. With pointed arch windows and doors and Austrian stained-glass windows, the church still inspires awe. Located in Rochester’s “forever immigrant neighborhood,” the Gothic revival church is a monument to immigrant determination and respect for old-world craftsmanship. To visit, call 325-4040. In downtown Rochester, most houses of worship date from the 1840s to the 1920s, Howk says. Few synagogues remain in the city’s core, but churches are in abundance. A walking or driving tour of downtown and nearby neighborhoods reveals many in the Romanesque and Gothic Revival styles. While the exteriors are readily evident, getting a peek at some amazing interiors might be more difficult, Howk warns. Access is often limited to protect against the theft of valuable sanctuary items. So if you’d like to see inside, call ahead, try the door—or attend a service.

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