Ruins of Saint Augustine's Church. North Fourth Street, Philadelphia


This lithograph from 1844 shows the ruins of Saint Augustine’s Church, located at 260-262 North Fourth Street in Philadelphia. In May 1844, this Catholic church was destroyed by fire during the Nativist Riots. Seen here are the damaged outer church walls, which remain standing behind a stone and iron work fence. On the sidewalk, pedestrians, including a pair of men, a pair of women, and a couple, walk past, point, and discuss the ruins. Another woman faces away from the destroyed church, and, near the pair of men, a dog wanders. The church congregation was formed in 1796 under Matthew J. Carr and served the large German and Irish immigrant community residing in the northern sections of the city. The church was built in 1801 after the designs of architect Douglas Fitzmaurice Fagan. The May riots (May 6–8, 1844) began during a confrontation between Irish Catholics and participants in an American Nativist Party rally that was held in the Irish neighborhood of Kensington. Text below the image states that the church was “destroyed by a mob on the evening of the 8th of May, 1844.”

Last updated: December 29, 2015