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Providence Creek Academy (St. Joseph's Industrial School)

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St. Joseph's Industrial School
1895–1896, George I. Lovatt. 355 W. Duck Creek Rd. at Clayton Ave., Clayton
  • Providence Creek Academy (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • Providence Creek Academy (W. Barksdale Maynard)
  • Providence Creek Academy (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

Philadelphian St. Katharine Drexel (canonized in 2000) founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People in 1891, which financed this school for African American boys. It occupied six buildings on 289 acres. The centerpiece is the frame chapel, a rare Delaware example of an Italianate basilica form, long and narrow, with a wide cornice of painted tin and stained glass windows. Unfortunately, the tall campanile tower has been removed. The architect, Lovatt, was a young Philadelphian just starting a long career as a designer of Catholic churches and schools. For eighty-two years, St. Joseph's, run by a Catholic society in Baltimore, educated 7,000 students from as far away as Texas. A Clayton resident recalls that the students, upon leaving the grounds, always marched in a line with a Josephite father at either end and were “as isolated from the community as people with leprosy.” The facility closed in 1972 and stood vacant until its conversion into a charter school in 1999. The town of Clayton has a number of old buildings, including the one-story, wide-eaved Pennsylvania Railroad Station (1885).

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard


What's Nearby


W. Barksdale Maynard, "Providence Creek Academy (St. Joseph's Industrial School)", [Clayton, Delaware], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Delaware

Buildings of Delaware, W. Barksdale Maynard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008, 225-225.

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