Historic Property: Former Church Rectory a Gem on Bucknam Street

(The following is a weekly feature in the Independent based on the City’s 2018 Historic Property Survey done to note the many little-known historically significant properties within the city.)

Historical Narrative

St. Joseph’s was the third Roman Catholic parish in Everett and was founded in 1912. It was formed to meet the needs of the large French-Canadian population in Everett and nearby Malden and Father Victor Choquette was appointed pastor. Initially services were held in the barn of Colonel Harry Converse in Malden. Soon, Father Choquette was able to buy part of the True estate on Bucknam Street in West Everett which had a homestead that could serve as a chapel. The church was constructed in 1917 according to designs by Walter Fontaine under the leadership of Choquette’s successor, Father Henry Joseph Filion. The church was dedicated on November 16, 1919. The rectory was built a few years later, in 1926-7. The architect of the rectory was Matthew Sullivan. 

St. Joseph’s Church was closed in 2001 due to declining attendance. Parishioners moved to either Sacred Heart Church in Malden or Immaculate Conception Church in Everett. As part of the Archdiocesan Reconfiguration Plan, the St. Joseph’s Church property on Bucknam Street was sold by the Archbishop to Frank Mastrocola of Mastrocola Development in 2003. The Church building was demolished in 2004. The two-acre property, renamed Parish Point, contains 20 new town houses located in two wood frame buildings as well as three condominiums in the former rectory. 

The rectory’s architect, Matthew Sullivan (1868-1948), was born and educated in Boston and received his architectural training in the office of Edmund Wheelwright. In 1901 he joined the architectural partnership of Charles Maginnis and Timothy Walsh as a junior partner (Maginnis, Walsh, and Sullivan). He left the firm in 1906 to practice independently. Sullivan designed many churches and other buildings in the Boston area for the Catholic church. Locally, Sullivan also designed Our Lady of Grace School at 190 Nichols St. in 1927 and St. Therese Church at 801 Broadway in 1928, as well as St. Rose Roman Catholic School in Chelsea in 1911. 

Architectural Description

The former St. Joseph’s Church Rectory is a 2 ½-story, brick building set on a concrete foundation and capped by a steeply-pitched slate roof. The five-bay west elevation facing Bucknam Street is five bays wide with the center bay highlighted by a concrete quoined panel that extends the full two stories. The entrance is set into a shallow archway with a shield above and a Gothic lantern sconce to the side. The south elevation of the building which originally faced St. Joseph’s Church (demolished) has a steeply pitched gable at either end. The entrance centered on this elevation is deeply recessed with a quoined surround and arched broken pediment with cross-topped shield over the doorway. Below the shield is the inscription “Presbytere Saint Joseph”. 

The rectangular window openings contain double-hung 6/1 (replacement) sash. On the Bucknam Street elevation the first floor windows are set into the brick with a row of slightly projecting stretcher bricks several courses above suggesting a lintel and a small square tile between the windows. The second floor windows on the same elevation have molded surrounds that are without lintels. On the south side there are 6/1 windows with molded surrounds as well as two sets of three windows capped by decorative concrete lintels. A series of low gable dormers punctuate all of the roof slopes except the north and brick exterior chimneys rise from the ends of the front section. Brick exterior chimneys are A single-story brick porch spans the east end of the building. Behind the former rectory is a small, hip-roofed brick garage with two bays facing Kinsman Street. 

St. Joseph’s Church stood to the south of the rectory and a bronze plaque on a granite base set into the lawn near Bucknam Street reads “St. Joseph Church occupied this site 1912-2001”. Two large condominium buildings were constructed on the site of the former church. The larger of the two buildings faces Bucknam Street and the other faces Kinsman Street. The 2 ½-story, gable end buildings are set on high poured concrete foundations and are sheathed in vinyl siding. Victorian Revival in style, they display two-story, three-sided bay windows, cross gables, scalloped shingles in the porch gables and staircases with stick balusters and knobbed newel posts. Between the two buildings there is a paved parking lot.

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