St. Francis of Assisi Parochial School

294 Church Street • Naugatuck, CT • New Haven County

Historical Significance

St. Francis of Assisi School was designed by James Murphy, who was born in 1834 in County Tipperary, Ireland. In 1852, he emigrated to the United States . Soon after his arrival, Murphy entered the Brooklyn, New York firm of Patrick C. Keely, another Irish immigrant, as an apprentice. Keely was already an established architect specializing in ecclesiastical design.

Photo: View northeast showing fa├žade and north elevation. (Tod Bryant)

Eventually, Murphy became a partner in the firm, which operated as Keely & Murphy. In 1875, the partnership was dissolved and Murphy established his own practice. Murphy continued to specialize in church design for the ever- growing number of Roman Catholic parishes during the late nineteenth century, particularly in the southern New England area of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

On September 10, 1899, St. Francis School cornerstone was blessed by Bishop Michael A. Tierney. A year later, the three-story brick school, located next to St. Francis of Assisi Church, also designed by James Murphy, was dedicated, staffed by the Sisters of Mercy.

Monsignor Joseph A. Healy purchased the extensive Whittemore tract on Church Street that eventually served as the parish fair grounds when plans for a more spacious school did not materialize. Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, who succeeded the Sisters of Mercy, were in turn succeeded by the Sisters of Charity in 1985.

Sources

"Parish History, St. Francis of Assisi Church," Archdiocese of Hartford
[ view source ]

Notable Features of Building or Site

The school has a Palladian facade with an arched center entrance. There is a gabled dormer facade and a domed cupola centered on the roof.

Interrelationship of Building and Surroundings

The school is south of the church in the midst of an urban residential and commercial neighborhood of mostly two story wood frame buildings of about the same age as the church.


Additional Information

Date(s):  Built 1900
Style(s):  Neoclassical
Historic Use:  School
Present Use:  School
Architect:  James Murphy


Accessibility:
Exterior visible from public road.


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