The Mortuary Chapel
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    The Mortuary Chapel was built on the grounds of St. Bonaventure Cemetery between 1874 and 1877, it was often referred to as "God's Acre" by the Friars.  The following material comes from a booklet authored by Fr. Conrad O'Leary, O.F.M titled, "The Mortuary Chapel."

    "The purpose of the chapel was to keep as far as possible the idea of the old churchyard.  When the Franciscans first came to Allegany in the middle of the fifties and built St. Nicholas Church on the parking site opposite the present parish church, they, at first, carried out the European idea of the churchyard.  For the first years, the pioneers were buried around the church.  With the highway and the Erie Railroad built and the increasing population, the Fathers soon realized that modern times were here even at that early time and that the growing churchyard would have to be moved to become a modern cemetery.  The first plot chosen was at the rear of St. Elizabeth's Convent, the section on which the chapel stands."

    "The chapel was built under the presidency of Very Rev. Charles Vissani, O.F.M., it's construction was directed by Fr. Michael Angelo, O.F.M."  "Much of the carpentry - especially the altar- was built by his own hands.  It is an exact replica of the old church that burned down on St. Bonaventure campus in nineteen thirty."

    "This place of the dead - silently gives us the growth of catholicity in this section of New York and Pennsylvania.  The universality of the church is depicted well- they lived in the teaching of faith and charity - they died in hope of the Kingdom of God.  From life - through death - to life everlasting."

Pictures of the Mortuary Chapel



Demolition of the Mortuary Chapel

        In March of 1966 the Mortuary Chapel was torn down due to poor stability, as it had survived a fire in April of 1955, and was no longer architecturally sound.  The fire destroyed documents concerning grave sites before 1920, and thus the Cemetery currently has to rely on the stones in the oldest part of the cemetery for information.


The Mortuary Chapel Site Today

View of the ground where the
Mortuary Chapel used to stand
The ground has not been used since
the demolition of the Chapel
The original stairs which stood to the
left of the Chapel
Another view of the grounds
facing the site of the Friars' section

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Last updated: 26 January 2007