Walk along North St. to St. Paul’s Church (at the corner of Fearing St.)

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Overview

In 1866, the Society of Catholics of Hingham, organized by 1850, purchased the land for St. Paul Parish for $1700. Before 1866, Irish immigrants traveled for services in West Quincy, and sometime after 1850, visiting priests would lead services at Hingham Town Hall. Father Hugh Smythe, originally of County Meathe, a young pastor responsible to serve the Catholic community from Weymouth to Plymouth, took on the work of building St. Paul’s Church after a fire had destroyed his Weymouth church in November 1869. The cornerstone for the Gothic style St. Paul’s Church in Hingham was laid on June 12, 1870, and was dedicated on July 23, 1871. Father Smythe is credited as the builder of St. Paul’s church. In his Boston area tenure, Father Smythe built “some twenty churches, schools and convents.”

Patrick Charles Keely, the architect of St. Paul’s Church, emigrated from Ireland at age 25, in 1841. When hired to design the Hingham church, Keely was already well-known as a prominent church architect in the U.S. (including Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross.) St. Paul’s Church is one of the few remaining wooden churches of the more than 600 that Patrick Keely designed. Keely has been called “the most prominent American Catholic architect of the 19th century.”