This period of time around
1871 appears to be the high water mark for the Disciples of Jesus Christ,
and their history suggests that the loss of local manufacturing and exodus
to Buffalo gradually shrank their numbers until in 1894, only 116 remained.
By 1948, the years had caught up to the structure, and weakened beams
forced removal of the bell tower. Finally, by 1976, the congregation lost membership
to the point that is was disbanded, and the church sold to the village for
$1. Subsequently, the Village
of Williamsville Historical Society
came to its rescue, and major renovations were completed, allowing the
building to function as a museum, and gathering place for concerts,
weddings, and meetings.
For many years, it had been the hope of Village Officials and the Historical Society that the
bell tower be replaced, giving the Meeting House eligibility for a place on
the National Registry of Historic Sites. The funding, however, was too
great or the Village to bear alone. With much gratitude, we thank our
former and present State Senators John Sheffer and Mary Lou Rath, whose
help made it possible to replace that beautiful bell tower.