BNHA Saint Mary's Seminary Chapel


National Historic Landmark

National Register of Historic Places

Interpretive Framework

Seeking Prosperity on the Chesapeake: Baltimore History from Colonial Times through the 1800s

Shaping a Monumental City: The City’s Growth in the 20th Century

Resource Type

Points of Interest

600 N Paca St

Baltimore, Maryland 21201

The St. Mary’s Seminary Chapel was the first ecclesiastical structure of a neo-Gothic design to be erected in the country. Designed in 1806 by Maximilien Godefroy, it was built of brick with trim of Acquia Creek sandstone. In the interior much of Godefroy’s work remains, particularly the arcades with pointed arches and the columns with intricately designed plaster acanthus leaves. These leaves and other interior details show the classical influence in Godefroy’s design.

The chapel was built while the seminary was under the leadership of French priests from St. Sulpice, who had been selected in 1791 by Reverend John Carroll to form the first seminary for the training of priests in the United States. The first American-born saint, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, took her vows in the chapel. Today the chapel and house that Seton lived are part of the Saint Mary’s Spiritual Center.

The seminary chapel is a National Historic Landmark and was designated as a city landmark in 1975.

Site summary courtesy of the Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation