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St. Gabriel's Hall (Fatlands Catholic Boys Protectory)

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Fatlands Catholic Boys Protectory
1895, Wilson Brothers. Chapel View Ln. and Pawlings Rd., 3.4 miles northeast of Valley Forge

At a bend of the Schuylkill River is the landmark orange-red bell tower and low, redroofed mass of St. Gabriel's Hall that for more than a century has been operated by the Christian Brothers. Designed by Wilson Brothers, it reuses elements of their competition entry for the Williamson School won by Frank Furness ( DE27). Where Furness's grouping took its cues from the industrial culture in building materials and in its expression of the industrial hierarchy, Wilson Brothers overlaid a rigorously functional approach to structure with historical forms tinged with strong references to Italian suburban architecture then being rediscovered by the younger architects at the end of the century. Usually attuned to the industrial culture, here they may have been connecting to the roots of the Catholic Church and its corporate iconography.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "St. Gabriel's Hall (Fatlands Catholic Boys Protectory)", [Audubon, 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, 201-201.

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