By JENNIFER PETERS
Dozens of people filled the doors of historical Dunkirk churches Saturday to get more information on how they were made and some of the famous people that left their mark on these churches.
OBSERVER Photo by Jennifer Peters
St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, built in 1867, had a reenactment of Colonel William Stevens portrayed by Brian Katta.
The first church on the tour sponsored by the Dunkirk Historical Society was St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Church, which was formerly St. Mary's, and it was built in 1854 to serve the Irish Catholics that worked on the railroads. It was finished on March 17, St. Patrick's Day, and the cost to build on the land was $30,000. The Elizabeth Ann Seton parish currently has 1,000 family members that attend.
Made of red oak and built in 1916 was the second church on the tour, was the First United Methodist Church. This church has beautiful stained-glass windows located on all sides. There was some historical information on Chadwick Bay in Dunkirk; in 1810, pioneer Solomon Chadwick settled there.
The Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, built in 1923, had important historical information as the third church on the tour. The pews used to have kneelers, but those were taken down for convenience for the members.
It was built for 200 members, and currently, they have about 30 members on a weekly basis.
Dr. Wayne Yunghans is a current member of the Grace Evangelical's.
"Labor costs and materials are high," Yunghans said. "It's difficult to maintain the building."
Another historical church on the tour was St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, which was built in 1868. The Book of Common Prayer is used in their services and is over 500 years old. The cost to build this church, not including the stained-glass windows, was $12,000.
Colonel William Stevens, born on February 3, 1828, was re-enacted Saturday. He settled in Dunkirk in 1852 and was elected as the District Attorney of Chautauqua County. He was promoted Colonel in September 1862 and in May 1863, he fell, was badly injured, and died the next day. He is buried in a cemetery in Fredonia.
The First United Presbyterian Church in Dunkirk was also featured on the tour and was built in 1867. Recent graduate of Fredonia High School, Brian Katta, reenacted Captain Charles Tinley. Katta said he thinks this church tour is a great way to inform the community about the historical information and all the people that went to war.
"Tinley was a great man," Katta explained. "He didn't have to go, but he chose to for our community and country."
There are more churches in Dunkirk, but these were just a few that helped give the community more of an insight on not only the significant people that made this possible, but also the structure itself.
There is a lot work that go into a church, and without the community members that make a difference in the community, it would not be possible.