Old St. Mary’s Church
252 S. 4th St., 215/923-7930
HOURS: Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Old St. Joseph’s was the first and Old St. Mary’s was the second Catholic parish in Philadelphia. The two churches were run as one unit until 1830. Built in 1763 by master carpenter Charles Johnson, the church was enlarged in 1810 and has seen several renovations since.
Notice the marble pieta crafted by French sculptor Boucher, the crucifix carved by William Rush, and the two stories of stained-glass windows. The church also contains a 1791 baptismal font, brass chandeliers from Independence Hall, and Bishop Conwell’s chair.
The cemetery has been in use since 1759, when graves were transported here from crowded Old St. Joseph’s and Washington Square. It is higher than street level because a top layer of graves was added after the 1793 yellow fever epidemic required much more space for bodies.
Notable people buried here include Commodore John Barry (known as father to the U.S. Navy), General Moylan (aid to George Washington), Thomas Fitzsimmons (a member of the Continental Congress who helped draft the Constitution), and Michael Bouvier, great-great-grandfather of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
© Karrie Gavin from Moon Philadelphia, 1st Edition