Created By: New Bedford Preservation Society
The Catholic population of North Bedford increased dramatically in the mid-nineteenth century. French Canadians came to work in the new cotton mills and Irish families began to arrive in North Bedford as a result of the Great Famine (Irish Potato Famine). St. Lawrence Church was designed for the latter group in 1866 by the Irish-born Brooklyn architect Patrick C. Keeley (1816-1896). Patrick C. Keeley was known through the world as the designer of Cathedrals and several Protestant Houses of Worship. Thirty Catholic churches in the greater Boston area designed by Keeley. The New Bedford builder was Thomas Murphy. This imposing granite structure is English Gothic in style with a tall tower dominating the surrounding neighborhood. Construction was delayed during the Civil War, and the church was not dedicated until 1870. Bells weighing 12,500 pounds were installed in the tower in 1888, and in 1904 a lighted clock was added.
This point of interest is part of the tour: New Bedford Pathways Tour #5: North Bedford Historic District Tour