Steeped in spirituality, with its own sacred history, this town in Erie County, New York definitely stands out as a symbol of the search for religious freedom in America. Similar to the saga of the pilgrims that landed at Plymouth Rock, West Seneca’s history in large part follows a persecuted religious group from Ronneburg, Germany called the Community of True Inspiration.
Also known as Ebenezers, they came to seek freedom in America In 1842 and during their 20 year occupation period in West Seneca, about a thousand people came through the Ebenezer hamlets. Hamburg and Orchard Park form the inner “Southtowns,” a cluster of middle-class suburban towns and the Town of West Seneca consisted of four Ebenezer Communities as well as four distinct sections.
Initially, the Community of True Inspiration purchased land around Buffalo Creek and some years later, the Village of Ebenezer was incorporated by New York State Legislature, operated under Ebenezer Society bylaws and constitution. The Ebenezers’ governing body was called The Elders of the Church and the Meeting House was the first building that the Ebenezers built. In 1855, the Ebenezers decided they needed more land and they purchased 18,000 acres (7,284.3 hectares) along the Iowa River.
They then established the villages which are today known as Amana Colonies. Many places of significance have been left behind by the settlement of the Ebenezers in West Seneca. Relive the journey of these men and women on their quest for the American dream in this historic place. Read on to learn about the best things to do in the area!
1. The Community of True Inspiration Residence
The Community of True Inspiration Residence of the few remaining buildings built around the 1850s by The Community of True Inspiration who settled in this area in the 1840s. It is a historic, 1 ½-story, vernacular wood frame and gable roofed home. In 1864, the Community of True Inspiration established a distinctive agricultural settlement in the town of West Seneca.
With a design reflecting the Christian group’s principles of plain living and common ownership, it is significant for many reasons, one of which is its association with the German immigrants who bought the lands.
The Community of True Inspiration Residence
Address: 919 Mill Rd., West Seneca, New York
2. Burchfield Nature & Art Center
Alongside the banks of the scenic Buffalo Creek, this area is home to the Burchfield Nature & Art Center that is situated on 29 acres (11.7 hectares) of nature trails and woods as well as wild and cultivated gardens.
For more than 40 years, Charles E. Burchfield lived and painted here. Today, visitors of all ages can experience art and nature on the gallery and grounds of the center. With an aim to satisfy the community interests in terms of art, nature, history, and more, this friendly facility provides gallery exhibitions, classes, activities, special events and festivals. There are also summer concerts and guided tours of the park and gallery. Wheelchair accessible trails ensure that those who require them can also join in the fun.
Burchfield Nature & Art Center
Address: 2001 Union Rd, West Seneca, NY 14224
Website: Burchfield Nature & Art Center
3. St. Matthew’s Cemetery
Operated by the not-for-profit Forest Lawn Group, St. Matthew’s Cemetery is a quiet, tranquil, historic garden cemetery, a peaceful resting place and one of the oldest cemeteries in Western New York. With a park-like setting alongside the Cayuga Creek in a suburban area, St. Matthew’s is known for its well maintained, landscaped garden and has offered a sense of serenity for many generations.
Welcoming all faiths, many traditional and cremation burial options are available throughout St. Matthew’s. People can even have the cremated remains of their domestic pets buried with them here. Despite being a non-denominational cemetery, it continues to have its roots in a church cemetery with sections named for apostles and popular saints.
It is one of three local cemeteries with white marble memorials marking veterans’ graves, which are provided by the government for free. Veterans are buried in the Field of Valor and on Veterans Day and Memorial Day these graves in the Field of Valor are decorated with U.S. Flags. The service and sacrifice of West Seneca residents in World War I and World War II are remembered by monuments and a flagpole in the Field of Valor. A World War I cannon can also be found here.
St. Matthew’s Cemetery
Address: 180 French Rd, West Seneca, NY 14224
Website: St. Matthew’s Cemetery
4. Sunshine Park
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With seven softball fields and a basketball court, this facility has hosted the Metro Buffalo Amateur 16U Qualifier and the Tenal 360 Can Am Championships. Recognized as the biggest and best softball complex in upstate New York, Sunshine Park has a 7 diamond softball facility. Softball teams come to Sunshine Park from all around US and Canada to compete in the tournaments held here.
Address: 1500 East and West Road, West Seneca, NY 14224
Website: Sunshine Park
5. Christe's Restaurant and Banquet Facility
Another great job by Clear Choice Carpet Cleaning!Posted by Christe's Restaurant & Banquets on Wednesday, 7 October 2015
Diners will find great meals at great prices in a friendly environment. A family tradition which is now 63 years old, up to 80 guests can be accommodated in the Banquet Room and small events can be held with white linen tablecloths, colored linen napkins, and centerpieces provided. The appetizers, breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets, fried chicken, roast beef as well as side dishes will entice diners and tantalize the taste buds.
Address: Southgate Plaza, 1056 Union Rd, West Seneca, NY 14224
Website: Christe’s Restaurant
Learn about the history of the Ebenezer Communities
The Ebenezer group of Inspirationalists have a long and interesting history in West Seneca, New York. Visitors will find much to learn and experience as well as a host of interesting activities here.
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