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A celebrated East Side house that is destined to become a black history museum was designated a local historic landmark Wednesday by Mayor Anthony M. Masiello.

During a brief outdoor ceremony, the mayor signed an ordinance giving landmark status to the home of the late Rev. J. Edward Nash, who served for 61 years as pastor of the historic Michigan Street Baptist Church.

The two-story frame house is at 36 Nash St., a one-block street that runs from Broadway to William Street.

"The Nash House is a symbol of the tremendous contributions African-Americans have made and continue to make to the City of Buffalo," said Masiello. "Its restoration will enable current city residents and future generations to learn of the significant legacy left to our community by such leaders as Rev. Nash."

Calling the house "a treasure that this community can enjoy," Masiello said it will be restored with a $300,000 urban renewal grant.

The restoration project is being led by former Common Council President George K. Arthur, who said the restoration will take about a year.

Arthur said the house, located directly behind Michigan Street Baptist Church, holds a special place in the history of Buffalo's African-American community because of the status of both the church and Nash and because of the numerous black leaders who visited there, such as Booker T. Washington and Mary Talbert.

The house also was an organizing site for the Niagara Movement, a forerunner of the NAACP.

Among the dignitaries participating in the ordinance signing was Nash's son, Jesse E. Nash Jr., assistant professor emeritus of sociology and anthropology at Canisius College.

Kevin Cottrell, president of the Michigan Street Preservation Corp., pointed out that the restored house will be both a museum that honors the memory of Nash and "a tourist attraction on Buffalo's East Side."

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