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St. Francis DeSales Church Complex

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Bunker Hill St.
  • St. Francis DeSales Church Complex (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)

The first of Patrick C. Keely's two Charlestown churches and the city's second Roman Catholic parish, St. Francis DeSales Church (1859–1862, 313 Bunker Hill Street) claims a prominent location. The exterior decorative trim suggests medieval Celtic chapels. Distinctive features include the blue stone masonry, massive central tower and steeple, cast-iron entrance enframements, and Romanesque Revival and Gothic Revival window treatments on the double-tiered nave. All of the original buildings of this still sizeable parish survive, though not in their original use. Immediately south of the church stands the rectory (1881, attributed to Charles J. Bateman, 303 Bunker Hill Street), a rare example in Charlestown of a large, freestanding brick residence in the Italianate style. To the north of the church, the Georgian Revival Convent (1901, Charles J. Bateman; 1995 adapted for housing, J. W. French Associates, 325 Bunker Hill Street) now serves as the Parish Center. Across the street and down the hill slightly, the parish's Bateman-designed school (1890–1891, 340 Bunker Hill Street) blends Queen Anne and Georgian Revival details. The blocky structure, now converted to twenty-four condominiums, originally contained sixteen classrooms and an auditorium that could seat one thousand.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "St. Francis DeSales Church Complex", [Boston, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 210-211.

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