Concordia Foundation, a 501-C3 non-profit organization, was formed in 2011 to support historic Concordia Cemetery in preserving the heritage of the cemetery, its grounds and buildings through promotion, community outreach, education and events and to encourage and support cultural, heritage and historic tourism for the cemetery, its neighborhood and community.
OUR MISSION: To assist Concordia Cemetery with the restoration, preservation and protection of the cemetery through community engagement and the acquisition of grants and charitable donations.
Concordia Foundation Inc. and Concordia Cemetery, Inc. are a team of volunteers dedicated to ensuring these 15-acres remain sacred and properly maintained for our community-at-large.
HISTORIC CONCORDIA CEMETERY
Founded in 1859, Concordia Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Western New York. The 15 acre lot, along with its circa 1845 Greek Revival farmhouse and barn, was acquired by three churches to be shared as their shared burial ground: St. Peter’s German Evangelical Church founded in 1835, St. Stephen's Evangelical Church organized in 1853 and First Trinity Lutheran Church founded in 1839. The term ”concordia” means harmony, and is a reference to the coming together of the 3 congregations to share this sacred land.
Historic Concordia Cemetery has long been a part of Buffalo's history. Our collection of beautiful Victorian era carvings and monuments was one of the reasons cited for Concordia being added to both the New York State and National Register of Historic Places.
About 500 Veterans are interred here, including about 150 Civil War Soldiers; of these 15 are from Buffalo's famous Weidrich's Battalion NYS 1st Light Infantry which is memorialized by a monument at Gettsyburg. Also resting here is Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient John McHugh.
In 2011, the volunteers of Concordia Cemetery were recognized for their hard work by being awarded the prestigious Neighborhood Conservation Award from Preservation Buffalo Niagara.
Concordia contains many lovely and unique memorials including a cast zinc monument, a metal cross, some hand-made stones, many red Medina sandstone monuments, and many tombstones containing epitaphs, poetry and biblical passages in German or displaying biographical information such as the person’s birth place in Germany. The carvings on the tombstones reflect the Victorian perception of death as a peaceful sleep instead of earlier views of death as something fearful . Our monuments feature carvings of flowers such as passion flowers and lilies, cherubs, angels, ivy, willow trees, religious symbols, and lambs. In addition to tablet shaped headstones there are many obelisks common to Victorian era cemeteries.
The reddish colored monuments are made of Medina sandstone which came from quarries in nearby Medina, New York and was discovered during the digging of the Erie Canal. This sandstone, located so near the surface it was easy to mine, and its beautiful red color made it a much sought-after architectural material that was shipped all over the country.
Our most famous Medina sandstone monument is the Schmand family marker. What makes this monument so unique is that we believe it is the only one in Western New York that has a curse on it. Louis Schmand was only 17 when he was clubbed to death in Euclid, Ohio in 1877. The inscription places a curse upon the soul of the murderer of this young boy, a message addressing the killer and appealing that he be brought to a swift justice.
THE PAST...THE FUTURE
Once a showplace and pride of the community, Concordia boasted many large urns overflowing with flowers located in large rotundas, and a large wrought-iron Lichgate sign which greeted visitors. These urns are gone now, the cemetery having been decimated by vandals after it was abandoned in 2001.
In 2003, dedicated volunteers came forth and pledged to restore and preserve the sacred site. A new board took over that year and began the task of finding records and finding and repairing tombstones. In the years since, gardens have been planted, the wrought-iron fencing has been repaired, a new reproduction of the original fence nameplate was installed and records have been transcribed into a database.
There is still much to be done to renovate this Buffalo gem to its former glory and volunteers are needed to help in the transformation. Renovation and restoration projects include locating and repairing headstones, landscaping and historic research. Anyone interested in donating time is urged to fill out the form on page 2 or contact us at Concordia1859@gmail.com. To make a donation, please click on the "donate" button below.. The cemetery is a non-profit organization with no paid staff and donations are gratefully accepted.
THIS IS A CEMETERY
Lives are commemorated, deaths are recorded, families are reunited, memories are made tangible and love is undisguised.
This is a cemetery.
Communities accord respect, families bestow reverence, historians seek information and our heritage is thereby enriched.
Testimonies of devotion, pride and remembrance are carved in stone to pay warm tribute to accomplishments and to the life -- not death -- of a loved one. The cemetery is homeland for family memorials that are a sustaining source of comfort for the living.
A cemetery is a history of people, a perpetual record of yesterday and a sanctuary of peace and quiet today. A cemetery exists because every life is worth loving and remembering - always.
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Channel 4's Luke Moretti and Dan Holland visit Concordia Cemetery to learn about it's history and relate some stories: