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Gasson Hall, Boston College, 1908
Bronze doors to Saint Patrick's Cathedral, New York, New York, 1949

Maginnis & Walsh was an architecture firm started by Charles Donagh Maginnis and Timothy Walsh in 1905. It was known for its innovative design of churches in Boston in the first half of the twentieth century.



Maginnis was born January 7, 1867 in Derry, Ireland. He emigrated to Boston at age 18 and got his first job apprenticing for architect Edmund M. Wheelwright as a draftsman. Influenced by the work of modern architect Ralph Adams Cram, Maginnis became a distinguished Gothic architect and an articulate writer and orator on the role of architecture in society. In 1948 Maginnis received the AIA Gold Medal for "outstanding service to American architecture," the highest award in the profession. He died in 1955 at the age of eighty-eight in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Timothy Francis Walsh was born in 1868 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He attended the The English High School in Boston, and worked as a draftsman for Peabody and Stearns from 1887 to 1893, when he left to study in Europe. Walsh returned to Boston in 1895 and went into business as Walsh & Kearns. He worked as a solo practitioner in 1896 and 1897, and 1898 went into partnership with Charles Donagh Maginnis and Matthew Sullivan. He died July 7, 1934 at the age of sixty-six in North Scituate.[1]

Matthew Sullivan was born in Boston and trained in the office of Edmund M. Wheelwright, Boston City Architect (1891-1894). Sullivan succeeded Wheelwright as City Architect and served in that position from 1895 to 1901, when he became a junior partner in the firm of Maginnis, Walsh and Sullivan, which was widely known for its ecclesiastical work. He withdrew from that partnership to carry on work independently in 1906.

Between the firm's founding in 1898 and the death of Timothy Walsh in 1934, the firm is credited with over 115 ecclesiastical works. The Maginnis and Walsh collection at the Boston Public Library contains work of the architectural firm from 1913 to 1952.

Eugene F. Kennedy Jr. was born in Brooklyn, New York January 31, 1904 to Eugene F. Kennedy Sr. and Anna T. Lee. The family had moved to the Boston area by 1910. In 1924, he was awarded the Rotch Traveling Scholarship, established by architect Arthur Rotch to provide an American student of architecture a minimum of eight months study and travel abroad.[2] Kennedy joined M&W in 1926, and married Carol Gertrude Fox (1903-1975) in 1928. He became a senior partner in the firm in 1941, which became known as Maginnis and Walsh and Kennedy. Kennedy died November 7, 1986 in Jamaica Plain, Boston.[3]

Maginnis, Walsh and Sullivan (1898-1905)Edit

St. John's, Cambridge
  • St. John the Evangelist Church (Cambridge, Massachusetts): The church was built in 1904, largely built by Irish immigrants. House Speaker "Tip" O'Neill, was a lifelong parishioner.[5] Modeled after a 12th century Lombardo-Romanesque basilica, of four gold medals awarded to Maginnis, Walsh and Sullivan from the American Institute of Architects, one was for St. John's. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
  • St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church (Los Angeles): The Mission Revival style church was built in 1904. The Los Angeles Times, said, "In its character this church unites itself with the days of the humble followers of St. Francis, as it is the same form and the same faith, is to a great degree of the same style of architecture and is carried on by the same authority as that of the olden days."[6]

Brighton, MassachusettsEdit

Now a neighborhood of Boston, Brighton was a farming community just northwest of the city. The farms became estates, the estates came into the possession of religious institutes. M&W had a number of commissions in Brighton.

One of the earliest was * St. John's Seminary Chapel in Brighton, designed in 1898 in the Romanesque Revival style. It was constructed in 1899 of yellow and gray Brighton pudding stone with limestone trimmings.[7] Our Lady of the Presentation Catholic Church in the Oak Square neighborhood of the Brighton section of Boston was begun in 1913 and completed in 1921. The parish closed in 2005; in 2013 the building was reopened as St. John's Seminary Our Lady of the Presentation Lecture Hall and Library.[8]

The Convent of the Sisters of the Cenacle in Brighton was built in 1911. The building now houses the EF Language Institute.

In 1908 the Passionist Fathers purchased the David Nevins Estate in Brighton and built St. Gabriel's Monastery. In 1927 M&W was engaged to design a church to replace the chapel.[9] St. Gabriel's is in the Renaissance Revival architecture style, constructed of buff-colored brick with cast stone accents and red mission tile roof. Due to personnel shortages, the monastery closed in 1978; St. Gabriel's Parish Church in 2006.[10] In 2017 plans were approved to convert the monastery property into a combination of condominiums and apartments, largely geared to graduate students. The plan also has an affordable housing component. St. Gabriel's Church is to be retained and renovated as a community center.

Maginnis and Walsh (1906-1940)Edit

Adminisration Building, Emmanuel College, Boston MA

In the Boston area the firm built St. Catherine of Genoa Church on Spring Hill in Somerville, Massachusetts, regarded as a masterpiece. St. Catherine's, was begun in 1907 and completed in 1921. In July 2019, St. Catherine's. St. Ann's, and St. Thomas merged to form Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin Parish; masses are still scheduled at St. Catherine's.[11]

St. Mary's School (Taunton, Massachusetts) built in 1907, is a three-story brick building in Collegiate Gothic style. The Girls' Latin School, Huntington Avenue Building was built in 1907 in collaboration with Peabody & Stearns and Coolidge & Carlson.

In 1914, the firm designed the administration building of Emmanuel College. Located in the Fens area of Boston, it was founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and opened in 1919 as the first women's Catholic college in New England. For thirty years, it was the only building on campus.[12]

In 1929 the firm designed Our Lady of Sorrows Church in South Orange, New Jersey, in the French Gothic style, to replace the 1889 St Mary's.[13]

Boston College, Chestnut HillEdit

Bapst Library, Seat of Wisdom

Maginnis & Walsh won the bid to build the new campus of Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Designed by Maginnis, in 1908, the Boston College campus is a seminal example of Collegiate Gothic architecture. Combining Gothic Revival architecture with principles of Beaux-Arts planning, Maginnis proposed a vast complex of academic buildings set in a cruciform plan. The design suggested an enormous outdoor cathedral, with the long entry drive at the "nave," the main quadrangle at the "apse" and secondary quadrangles at the "transepts." Maginnis's design broke from the traditional Oxbridge models that had inspired it—and that had until then characterized Gothic architecture on American campuses. At the "crossing", Maginnis placed the university's main building. Using stone quarried on the site, the building was constructed at the highest point on Chestnut Hill, commanding a view of the surrounding landscape and the city to the east. In its unprecedented scale, Gasson Tower was conceived not as the belfry of a singular building, but as the crowning campanile of Maginnis' new "city upon a hill". Dominated by a soaring 200-foot bell tower, Recitation Hall was known simply as the "Tower Building" when it finally opened in 1913. Gasson Hall is credited for the typology of dominant Gothic towers in subsequent campus designs, including those at Princeton (Cleveland Tower, 1913–1917), Yale (Harkness Tower, 1917–1921), and Duke (Chapel Tower, 1930–1935).

Although Maginnis' ambitious Gothic project never saw full completion due to the Wall Street Crash of 1929, its central portion was built according to plan and forms the core of what is now BC's iconic middle campus. According to Boston College historian, Fr. Charles F. Donovan, Gasson Hall (1913) (The signature building of BC), St. Mary's Hall and Chapel (1917), Devlin Hall (1924), and Bapst Library (commissioned 1922, completed 1928), called the "finest example of Collegiate Gothic architecture in America"), are the "original architectural gems" of the campus.[14] In 1926, the Devlin Hall science building won the Harleston Parker Medal for "most beautiful building in Boston". M&W also built Fulton Hall (1948), Lyons Hall (1951), St. Thomas More Hall (1954 -demolished 2014), and Campion (1955).[15]

Maginnis also designed the chancel at Trinity Church in Copley Square, the high altar at St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York and the Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower on the summit of Mount Greylock.

The firm also built St. Aidan's Church (Brookline, Massachusetts) (1911) where Maginnis was a parishioner. The church where John F. Kennedy was christened, St. Aidan's, has since been closed and converted to housing.

Maginnis and Walsh and Kennedy (1941-1956)Edit

Maginnis designed the bronze doors at St. Patrick's Cathedral (Manhattan) to replace the original wooden ones. Each 16 1/2-foot by 5 1/2-foot door weighs 9,200 pounds and is decorated with sculptures of saints created by John Angel. The doors were blessed by Cardinal Spellman and opened for the first time just before Christmas 1949. In 2013, the doors underwent a major conservation and restoration.[16]

Maginnis and Walsh were the original architects for St. Julia Church, in Weston, Massachusetts in 1919. The firm returned in 1961 to design an addition to the back of St. Julia Church to increase seating capacity.[17]


Archdiocese of BostonEdit

Diocese of WorcesterEdit

Diocese of Fall RiverEdit

Diocese of SpringfieldEdit

Blessed Sacrament Church, Northampton, Massachusetts

Diocese of ProvidenceEdit

Diocese of Burlington VermontEdit

Diocese of Portland, MaineEdit

Archdiocese of HartfordEdit

Archdiocese of CincinnatiEdit

Archdiocese of New YorkEdit

Diocese of BrooklynEdit

Diocese of AlbanyEdit

Diocese of OgdensburgEdit

Diocese of Marquette (Michigan)Edit

Archdiocese of NewarkEdit

Archdiocese of BaltimoreEdit

Archdiocese of PhiladelphiaEdit

Diocese of ScrantonEdit

Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.Edit

Diocese of Gary, IndianaEdit

Archdiocese of MilwaukeeEdit

Archdiocese of San FranciscoEdit

Archdiocese of Los AngelesEdit

Archdiocese of DubuqueEdit

Diocese of Des MoinesEdit

Diocese of CheyenneEdit

Schools, colleges, universities, and seminariesEdit

The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.Edit

  • Basilica of The National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception (started in 1919; completed 1959). The largest Catholic Church in North America.[28] "The architectural style is composite of a Romanesque exterior and a Byzantine interior."[29]

Georgetown Preparatory School, Rockville, MDEdit

Holy Cross College, Worcester, MAEdit

Newton Country Day School of the Sacred HeartEdit

Regis High School, New York City, NY[40]Edit

Sacred Heart School, Fall River, MA[41]Edit

Saint Joseph's School, Wakefield, MA – 1924[42]Edit

Saint Joseph College, West Hartford, CTEdit

  • McDonough and Mercy Halls – 1935[43]

St. Mary's Seminary and University, Baltimore, MDEdit

  • Main Administration Building – 1929 (Beaux Arts Classical Revival Style).

Trinity Washington University (formerly Trinity College), Washington, D.C.Edit

University of Northwestern (formerly Northwestern College) St. Paul, MNEdit

  • Nazareth Hall – 1923[47]
  • Nazareth Hall Chapel – 1923[48]
  • Island Chapel and Peninsula – 1925[49]

University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN[50]Edit


Boston's Children Hospital?Edit

References to "Children's Hospital" are found in "[Boston] City Auditor's of the Receipts and Expenses" Reports (1912–1913, 1913–1914, 1914–1915); and the "Documents City of Boston, For The Year 1914."

Uncertain if this facility is within the "Boston Consumptives Hospital" campus or a separate facility altogether.

Boston Consumptives Hospital (Boston Sanatorium)Edit

A "tuberculosis hospital," this 52-acres campus had 18 buildings[58]), Dorchester, MA[59][60]

  • Administration or Foley Building (1910, 1928–1930) (The largest building on campus)
  • Doctors' residences, Dormitories or Wards (4) (ca. 1910) (currently vacant and are decaying [reported 2016])
  • The Power House (1903)

Outside United StatesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Jennings, Jan. Cheap and Tasteful Dwellings: Design Competitions and the Convenient Interior, 1879-1909, Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2005, p. 260ISBN 9781572333604
  2. ^ Rotch Travelling Scholarship
  3. ^ "Eugene F. Kennedy, Prominent Church Architect, Dead at 82", AP News, November 9, 1986
  4. ^ "Church History" (PDF). St. Patrick's RCC Whitinsville, Massachusetts. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Is Dedicated To St. Thomas: Solemnities of Opening of Fine New Church; Gathering of Catholics on Pico Heights". Los Angeles Times. 1905-02-20.
  7. ^ "St John's Seminary History", Brighton Allston Historical Society
  8. ^ Pineo, Christopher S. "Seminary Dedicates New Lecture Hall and Library in Brighton", The Pilot, September 20, 2013
  9. ^ "Brighton, Massachusetts", Passionist Historical Archives
  10. ^ Eliot C.P., Roger. "The Closing of St. Gabriel's in Brighton", Passionist Historical Archives
  11. ^ Tetrault, Jacqueline. "Three Somerville parishes to merge July 1", The Boston Pilot, June 7, 2019
  12. ^ "Administration Building", Emmanuel College
  13. ^ History of Our Lady of Sorrows Church
  14. ^ "Campus Guide", Boston College
  15. ^ Birnbaum, Ben. "The Brief, Effective Life of More Hall", Boston College Magazine, Fall 2014
  16. ^ "St. Patrick’s Cathedral Shows Off Restored Bronze Doors", CBS NY News, August 13, 2013
  17. ^ "Construction History", St. Julia Church, Weston
  18. ^ St. Aiden Church, Brookline Ma
  19. ^ a b College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts
  20. ^ Norval White and Elliot Willensky with Fran Leadon, AIA Guide to New York City, Fifth Edition, (New York City: Oxford University Press, 2010), p.453.
  21. ^ Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, baltimore Maryland
  22. ^ Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC
  23. ^ Sacred Heart Church, Washington DC
  24. ^ drawing of New Apostolic Mission House
  25. ^ Carmelite Monastery, Santa Clara, California
  26. ^ Newspaper articles on restoration of All Saints Church, Stuart IA
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-06-04. Retrieved 2011-02-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) St. Joseph Childrens Home, Torrington, Wyoming
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ National Register of Historic Places (Form)
  31. ^ Philadelphia Architects & Buildings
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ NCD History
  39. ^
  40. ^ Regis High School
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^ Trinity's Remarkable Architectural Story
  45. ^ a b Report to DC Zoning Commission
  46. ^ Founders & Builders
  47. ^ Historic Campus Architecture Project
  48. ^ Historic Campus Architecture Project
  49. ^ Historic Campus Architecture Project
  50. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-06. Retrieved 2013-07-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^ a b
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^ Dorchester Atheneum
  60. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-03-26. Retrieved 2016-03-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)