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Torn-Down Tuesday: Mesnekoff’s Delaware Park Memorial Chapel

Nathan Mesnekoff began operating a funeral home at 179 Richmond Ave. in 1940. Zoning issues arose as the business grew to the point where Mesnekoff was regularly holding services for two separate families in the home’s living room and dining room.

While neighbors were concerned about traffic and parking, the Jewish community stood with Mesnekoff.

“Rabbi Elihu Rickel of Temple Beth El, 153 Richmond Ave., declared that Mesnekoff was one of two undertakers of the Jewish faith in Buffalo and ‘any action that would curtail his business would result in embarrassment to the people of the Jewish faith,’ ” reported the Courier-Express in 1950.

In 1951, Mesnekoff built a larger custom-built chapel in growing North Buffalo, across the street from a recently built A&P store on Delaware Avenue.

Hundreds of thousands of mourners found peace in the building's five chapels for the five decades the funeral home was operated there.

The Delaware Park Memorial Chapel was sold to the Vancouver-based Loewen Group in 1993. It stopped operating as a mortuary in 2001. The property was bought by Benderson the following year and the funeral home was razed.

In 2004, Total Tan and Feel Rite both opened in the shopping plaza that was built on the site.

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