Canisius College - Christ the King Chapel

Canisius College

Canisius History

Canisius College was founded by German Jesuits in 1870 at the invitation of the Most Rev. John Timon, C.M., the first bishop of Buffalo.  The population of the region was heavily immigrant German, but there were relatively few German-speaking secular priests.  Bishop Timon hoped Canisius College would become both a center of learning in itself and a school of origin for young men who later would seek the diocesan priesthood. 

The original course of study was the Germanic Progymnasium, a six-year classical secondary school course that, upon completion, made students eligible for admission to professional schools of law, medicine, and divinity.  However, from the beginning a commercial course was also included and was the forerunner of today's Wehle School of Business. 

Students began their studies at age 13 and graduated at 19 or 20 years.  No degree was awarded.  In the Progymnasium the language of instruction was supposed to be Latin, but most entering students had little background in Latin.  The faculty spoke German, and most of the students spoke English learned on the streets and in their Catholic elementary schools.  The student body was all male, a tradition that would continue in some form until the college became fully coeducational in 1965.

After two years of struggle, the college moved from a two-story brick building into a new and more spacious home adjoining St. Michael's parish church.  A visit from the New York State Board of Regents in 1881 led to the approval of a charter in 1883 authorizing the conferral of the AB degree.  The course of studies was extended to seven years and finally to eight years.  In 1897 the college was authorized to award the Regents Diploma for the first four years of study, and at this point it made sense to separate into two institutions, Canisius High School and Canisius College.  In 1890 the first master's degree was awarded.  In 1912-1913 the college moved to its present home at Main Street and Jefferson Avenue. 
- Canisius College (online Sept. 2020)

Drawing source: The Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo, Frank H. Severance, ed. Pub. by the Buffalo Historical Society Publications, Vol. 16, 1912, p. 138



St. Michael's address:  651 Washington St.   ...  
Drawing source: The Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo, Frank H. Severance, ed. Pub. by the Buffalo Historical Society Publications, Vol. 16, 1912, p. 139



Note corner of St. Michael's RC Church at right   ...   Canisius College, founded by the Jesuits in 1870, was originally located on Washington Street north of  St. Michael's RC Church and directly across the street from the back of Dr. Pierce's Invalids Hotel.
Postcard copied with permission from Postcard Views: A Walk Down Main Street Bufflo, New York, Circa 1910, by Joseph Bieron and Paul McCarthy, 2007.


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