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Visiting St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Niagara Falls, New York: Gothic Solidity by Henry C. Dudley, Completed 1880

Updated on January 13, 2018
Flag of New York State
Flag of New York State | Source
St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Niagara Falls, NY
St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Niagara Falls, NY | Source

A venerable example of a 19th century architect's work

Gothic solidity is what comes to mind in describing St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Niagara Falls, New York, by Henry C. Dudley (1813-1894). Work on the building was commenced in 1873 and completed in 1880.

With its huge number of visitors and its celebrated geographic features for which it is named, Niagara Falls, New York seems to symbolize natural movement and human transience: yet St. Peter's Episcopal Church appears instead to radiate permanence and solidity.

Architect Henry C. Dudley was known for many ecclesiastical buildings and was strongly associated with Gothic Revival style (1).

Certainly many of the elements linked with Gothic are present here in profusion: pointed arching, flying buttresses and pinnacles. A particularly prominent feature at St. Peter's Episcopal Church is the large rose window at the building's Rainbow Boulevard elevation, reminiscent of French Medieval cathedrals.

While the nearby United Office and Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino buildings now dwarf the tower of St Peter's, in its day the tower dominated the skyline of the near locality.

The original Episcopalian congregation dated from 1823; between 1829 and 1847 it was known as Christ Church.

Interestingly, the land on which the structure was built was given by General Peter Buell Porter (1773-1844), United States Secretary of War 1828-29 (2). (Doubts remain whether St. Peter's was named for the Apostle Peter or General Peter Buell Porter (2).)

January 12, 2018


(1) Other noted structures by Architect Dudley include church buildings at Middletown, Conn., Hoosick Falls, NY and Red Wing, Minn. — all with examples of rose windows also.

(2) Through his wife Laetitia he was related to the Breckinridge family distinguished in early United States history.

(3) See also:

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

Peter Buell Porter, by Daniel Huntington, 1873 after Matthew Harris Jouett
Peter Buell Porter, by Daniel Huntington, 1873 after Matthew Harris Jouett | Source

Also worth seeing

The American Falls may be viewed to excellent effect from the Niagara Falls State Park, adjacent to the American Falls. The US Post Office , Niagara Falls, New York, is a remarkable example of early 20th century Beaux Arts architecture, for which James Knox Taylor, Presiding Architect at the US Treasury Department, was responsible. The United Office Building, by James A. Johnson, is a huge presence on the Niagara Falls, New York skyline.

Niagara Falls, Ontario , Canada (distance by road: c. 2 kilometres), at Table Rock Point, is the best spot to view closely the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.

Lewiston (distance: c. 12 kilometres) downstream from Niagara Falls, New York, on the Niagara River, The historic Frontier House, in its day classed as an outstanding hotel, is among noted features.


How to get there:

A number of airlines fly to Niagara Falls International Airport (distance from Downtown Niagara Falls, NY: 10.4 kilometres) from various destinations in the Southern United States. United Airlines flies from New York Newark to Buffalo Niagara International Airport (distance to Niagara Falls, NY: 42 kilometres). I-190 is the nearest Interstate to Niagara Falls, New York, linking near Buffalo, NY with I-290 and I-90 to Albany, NY. From Canada, accessible via the Rainbow Bridge, the QEW links Niagara Falls, ON with Hamilton and Toronto. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

Map location of Niagara Falls, New York
Map location of Niagara Falls, New York | Source


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    • Guckenberger profile image

      Alexander James Guckenberger 

      2 years ago from Maryland, United States of America

      Absolutely. Enjoy your travels, and be safe.

    • MJFenn profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago

      Yes, I stayed over the road from it; and it is certainly an impressive building. Thank-you for your comment.

    • Guckenberger profile image

      Alexander James Guckenberger 

      2 years ago from Maryland, United States of America

      It looks wonderful! I love grand architecture.


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