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St. Thomas of Villanova Roman Catholic Church

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1883, Edwin Forrest Durang
  • (© George E. Thomas)

The church of St. Thomas, the centerpiece of the college, faces Lancaster Avenue behind the graves of deceased priests. Its great two-towered facade recalls the simplified detail of the early Norman L’Abbaye-aux-Hommes in Caen, France, but with an improbable mixture of slate spires from Germany, corbel tables under the gable from Italy, and the bell-cote of Philadelphia's St. James the Less ( PH136) at the top of the gable. Most of the post–Civil War churches for Roman Catholics in the Philadelphia region were the work of Durang and his son, F. Ferdinand Durang, who also enjoyed a secondary practice in schools, including the buildings for the Keystone Normal School in Kutztown, now Kutztown University (1886 and later), and the towered academic building for St. Joseph's College (1925) at 5600 City Avenue in Philadelphia.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "St. Thomas of Villanova Roman Catholic Church", [Radnor Township, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 235-235.

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