Beginning our Journey
On February 21, 1859, delegates representing six Roman Catholic Churches in the City of Buffalo, New York with strong German and French congregations gathered at Saint Mary's school house on Broadway in Buffalo. The mission of the delegates was to establish a Roman Catholic Cemetery Association to bury the dead belonging to their parishes. The six original parishes were St. Louis, St. Michael's, St. Peter's, St. Mary's, St. Bonifacius, and St. Ann's. The delegates resolved the following: "That the officers of the board be empowered to purchase properties for a Roman Catholic Cemetery as a place for the burial of the dead. The Corporate name shall be 'The United German and French Roman Catholic Cemetery Association of Buffalo.' The number of trustees shall be nine." Board members were elected representing each of the original parishes committed to the cemetery association.
First Land Purchase
On March 3, 1859, the board made its first land purchase. Three adjacent properties were acquired along Pine Ridge Road totaling 15 acres. This would become grounds #1. On July 10th, 1859, Father Sester from St. Mary's Church consecrated the grounds. The Mayor was invited and permission requested to parade through the streets. The police chief was asked to supply policemen for the occasion.
Eleven years later on Dec. 2, 1870, the board purchased an additional 28 acres east of the original purchase. This became grounds #2. At a special festive ceremony on July 11, 1875, the Bishop of Buffalo consecrated this land. The Bishop at this time was the Most Rev. Stephen V. Ryan, C. M., D. D. 1868 - 1896.
Expansion of the grounds became necessary as the number of Catholic parishes burying their dead at United German and French Cemetery increased. In 1892, the third and final purchase of what we know as United German and French Cemetery was made. These 29 acres became Grounds #3. At this time 48 Churches, three infant asylums and two nursing homes buried their dead here. Grounds #3 was consecrated September 1, 1901 by the most reverend Bishop James E. Quiqley, D.D.
Introduction of Mount Calvary Cemetery
The United German and French Roman Catholic Cemetery Association made additional land purchases as the need arose and in 1910 the Zimmermann farm, followed by the neighboring Knocke farm in 1938 were acquired and destined to become known as Mount Calvary Cemetery. Although the United German and French Roman Catholic Cemetery Association of Buffalo had significant name recognition, the name was changed in 1982, after 70 years of contemplation, to Mount Cavalry Cemetery, Inc. The name was originally chosen by Rev. Paul Hoelscher, pastor of St. Louis Church when the annexed property was purchased in 1910.
Mount Calvary Cemetery Consecrated
Mount Calvary Cemetery was consecrated on All Souls Day, Mon. Nov. 2, 1914, by the most reverend Bishop Charles E. Colten. The third and last land purchase in Mount Calvary was in 1938 and consecrated September 11, 1938, by the most reverend Bishop John A. Duffy, D.D.
Mount Calvary acquires Buffalo Cemetery
Incorporated in 1854, Buffalo Cemetery was acquired by Mount Calvary Cemetery, Inc., in 1984 after falling into financial troubles. The Pine Lawn property was part of the Buffalo Cemetery purchase. Undeveloped land until the 1990's, Mount Calvary Cemetery, Inc., has created a distinct cemetery with many memorial options in what is now called Pine Lawn Cemetery.
New Acquisition of Ridge Lawn Cemetery
Ridge Lawn Cemetery, adjacent to United German and French Grounds #3, was acquired by Mount Calvary Cemetery, Inc. in 1984. It was originally operated by the Werick family and incorporated in 1897. Significant improvements have been made to Ridge Lawn Cemetery since its acquisition.
United German and French grounds #1, #2, and #3 and Mount Calvary are consecrated Catholic cemeteries. Ridge Lawn and the Buffalo Cemetery, the cemeteries Mount Calvary took over, were founded as Not-for-Profit non-sectarian cemeteries. Today, all of Mount Calvary's properties are governed by New York State Division of Cemeteries, must maintain a non-invasive trust fund for permanent care, and are regulated by Section 1501 of the Not-for Profit Corporation law.