Patrick Keely

Patrick Keely (1816-1896) was a prolific designer of nearly 600 churches and hundreds of other institutional buildings for the Roman Catholic Church or Roman Catholic patrons in the eastern United States and Canada, particularly in New York City, Boston, and Chicago in the latter half of the 19th century.  Born in Ireland, he immigrated to the United States and settled in Brooklyn in 1842.  He met Father Sylvester Malone, also from Ireland, who needed an architect for a church he was planning to build in Brooklyn and despite no formal training as an architect, Keely worked with Malone on the design of his first chruch, St. Peter and Paul Church, which was completed in 1847.


Keely became a highly sought after church architect, basically becoming the in-house architect for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, designing every 19th century Catholic cathedral in New England.  He later partnered with his wife's brother-in-law, James Murphy in Brooklyn, New York, and Providence, Rhode Island, under the name Keely & Murphy from the 1860s to 1867.

In Lowell, Keely was responsible for the design of several Catholic churches including St. Patrick’s Church (1853-1874, 282 Suffolk Street), the Immaculate Conception Church (1868, 140 East Merrimack Street), St. Michael’s Church (1884-1900, 543 Bridge Street), the former Sacred Heart Church (1884-1896, Moore Street), and the demolished St. Peter’s Church (1892-1900).