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Our Lady of Good Help Church, Rectory, and Parish House–School (Notre Dame de Bon Secours)

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Notre Dame de Bon Secours
1905–1907, Walter Fontaine. 1063 Victory Hwy.

Again the texture and color of materials are important. Whereas the Methodist Episcopal church emphasizes folk design attempting a sophisticated result, this Roman Catholic church for a French Canadian parish shows a sophisticated architect borrowing folkish effects for a country church under the influence of contemporary Arts and Crafts inspiration. If the massing is a bit disjointed and the detailing somewhat heavyhanded, the church overall exhibits a straightforwardness in the use of a random field-stone base and shingling, with wooden post-and-bracket construction which gives it exceptional character. The complex of church, rectory, and school is beautifully preserved, except that around 1989 the complex was resurfaced in larger shingles—reducing the cost of repair, no doubt, but blunting scale and texture. The exposed stained wood and revealed timber structure inside the church mostly retains its original character.

The rectory is a gambrel-roofed, shingled house with classical allusions edging it out of Queen Anne or Arts and Crafts toward incipient Neo-Colonial. By the date of the combined parish house and school, the Neo-Colonial and Neo-Renaissance styles were at their height of popularity. It is difficult to know which label to apply to the rustic minimalism of this shingled neoclassical front. It is so abstractly composed, in fact, that only by looking at the very functional side and rear elevations does one realize that it is a school.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.

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