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Sisters of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Villa Sacred Heart (First Catholic Slovak Girls Academy)

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First Catholic Slovak Girls Academy
1929, Harry Sternfeld. 580 Railroad Ave.
  • Sisters of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Villa Sacred Heart (First Catholic Slovak Girls Academy) (© George E. Thomas)

Is there a more remarkable sight in all of upstate Pennsylvania than the Art Deco meets Gothic spire of Sternfeld's tower for the Slovak Girls school that looms above the valley like a giant high-reader highway sign? Sternfeld was ever the master of the Baroque gesture. It was this strength that won for him the Paris Prize in 1914 and it reappears in all of his best works, whether the light-emanating tower of the WCAU radio station in Philadelphia ( PH76) or the tablets of the law fronting the Germantown Jewish Center (1954; Lincoln Drive and W. Ellet Street, Philadelphia). Here he creates separate wings for classrooms, chapel, and dormitory for a private school for the girls of the region's Slovak mining community that is given visual presence in its valley by the paneled, tapering stone spire crowned by crosses linked crossbeam to crossbeam. By articulating the structural ribs into the verticality of the Gothic, Sternfeld provides evidence of the crossover into Art Deco that paralleled William L. Price's Traymore Hotel in Atlantic City nearly a generation earlier. The complex has now been adapted as a retreat center but continues its historic relationship to the church.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Sisters of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Villa Sacred Heart (First Catholic Slovak Girls Academy)", [Danville, 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, 507-507.

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