Manchester’s Saint-Marie Parish District named to National Register of Historic Places
The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources has announced that the Saint-Marie Roman Catholic Church Parish Historic District in Manchester has been honored by the United States Secretary of the Interior with placement on the National Register of Historic Places for the district’s contributions to education, social history and ethnic heritage as well as for its architecture.
The district includes seven late nineteenth- and twentieth-century red brick buildings. It is the historic core of Saint-Marie Roman Catholic Church Parish, Manchester’s largest parish for thousands of French Canadian Catholics who settled in that city more than one hundred years ago.
The buildings are in close proximity to each other, embodying “La Survivance,” a social movement developed in Quebec in the 19th century that worked to retain traditional French Canadian culture through the preservation of faith, language, customs and family.
The oldest building in the district, Holy Angels School and Convent was built in 1885 primarily in the Victorian Gothic style. Its second floor oriel windows with flared bases and its octagonal belfry topped by a polygonal pyramid roof are some of the building’s distinctive architectural details.
Built from 1891-99 in the Victorian Gothic style, the brick exterior of Saint Marie’s Church is contrasted with white granite details. A central square tower, flanked by solid buttresses, rises to a bell tower that holds four bells from Louviers, France; its 224-foot spire is topped by a 16-foot golden cross.
The church’s interior has decorated Corinthian columns, carved oak pews and stalls, ornate hand-carved wooden altars and fourteen high-relief sculptures representing the Way of the Cross.
The district’s 1911 rectory is Chateauesque style with copper-trimmed slate hip roofs, an ogee-arched central dormer, first-floor windows with arched tops and a Tudor-arched porch that wraps around the front and southern elevations.
Named for Father Pierre Hevey, who was instrumental in building the West Side’s French Canadian community, Hevey School was built in 1911-12. A flat-roofed 20th Century Gothic brick building with two full stories and a basement, it has decorative brickwork, granite details and a stepped parapet. In 1966, a Mid-Century Modern addition added a cafeteria and gym.
Other structures within the historic district include the 1905 Marist Brothers Home, the 1907 Sisters Home and convent, statues of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, and a concrete garage built in 1954.
Buildings throughout the district were designed by prominent architects from Manchester, several of whom were French Canadian or of French Canadian descent, including three generations of the Provost family.
Administered by the National Park Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of historic resources worthy of preservation and is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect our historic and archaeological resources.
Listing to the National Register does not impose any new or additional restrictions or limitations on the use of private or non-federal properties. Listings identify historically significant properties and can serve as educational tools and increase heritage tourism opportunities. The rehabilitation of National Register-listed commercial or industrial buildings may qualify for certain federal tax provisions.
In New Hampshire, listing to the National Register makes applicable property owners eligible for grants such as the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program or LCHIP (lchip.org) and the Conservation License Plate Program (nh.gov/nhdhr/grants/moose).
For more information on the National Register program in New Hampshire, please visit nh.gov/nhdhr or contact the Division of Historical Resources at 603-271-3583.
New Hampshire’s Division of Historical Resources, the State Historic Preservation Office, was established in 1974 and is part of the N.H. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. NHDHR’s mission is to preserve and celebrate New Hampshire’s irreplaceable historic resources through programs and services that provide education, stewardship, and protection. For more information, visit us online at nh.gov/nhdhr or by calling 603-271-3483.