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Historic Property #SM 414  



Our Lady of the Wayside Catholic Church is highly significant as one of the first Catholic churches designed by architect Philip Frohman, a national figure in American architecture.  Both the interior and exterior of the church remain in pristine condition.  Well-documented in Frohman's personal papers, Our Lady of the Wayside represents an aspect of Frohman's architectural legacy which has not been previously documented or discussed.  As late as the first quarter of the twentieth century, Catholic residents were celebrating mass is the home of Mrs. Aloysius Welch (SM 413).  The first place of worship constructed for Catholics in the Chaptico area was a chapel contained in the rectory "Loretto House."  Loretto House was opened as a Jesuit mission center on October 6, 1914.  The Loretto House chapel served the Chaptico area's Catholic community until the late 1930's.  Chaptico's Catholic community expanded to the point that by the late 1930's, it had outgrown the Loretto House chapel.  In 1937 Archbishop Curley instructed Rev. Hezekiah Greenwell to proceed with plans for "a small, but sturdy, frame church, seating about two hundred" to be designed by Philip Frohman.  Confronted with a small budget for construction, Frohman developed a design which was stripped down to express both "honest poverty" and "spiritual wealth."  Frohman described his design for Our Lady of the Wayside Catholic Church as a result of the consideration of liturgical and practical requirements, climate and location, and budgetary considerations.  He notes that like those churches erected in the Middle Ages, the architectural style of the building resulted from its plan and proportions and method of construction and materials.

Many of the historic sites listed on this website are private residences not open to the public at any time. Please call the Historic Preservation Planner (301-475-4200 X 1549) if you have a question about any site you wish to visit.