Photo credit: MHT File Photo , Undated Photo

Property Name: St. Francis Xavier Church and Rectory
Date Listed: 10/10/1975
Inventory No.: CE-60
Location: Church Road, Warwick, Cecil County

Description: Old Bohemia consists of a late-18th century brick church and an early-19th century brick rectory connected by a one-story hyphen. St. Francis Xavier Church consists of a four bay deep by three bay wide brick structure with a three story brick tower added on the southwest facade of the church subsequent to its original building in 1792. The southwest and northwest sides of the building are laid in Flemish bond, the southeast is laid in Flemish and common bond, and the southwest is stuccoed. There is a molded watertable around the structure. The windows have 20/15 pane sash, with louvered shutters and a semicircular stationary louvered shutter obscuring the upper part of the sash. The arches above the windows are of gauged brick. An area of brickwork above the windows of the southeast side has been relaid. In the center of the two long sides is a brick chimney built after the fire of 1912 which consumed all but the brick walls of the church. The tower is laid in English bond and has pilasters at the four corners, belt courses between the three stories, and a projected area in the center of the facade. The main entrance has leaded fanlight, double doors, and narrow paneled trim. On the second story is an arched window with a tablet beneath bearing a quotation from Genesis. On the third story of the facade is a half circle recess; on the two sides are window. Atop the modillion cornice stands an octagonal belfry, each side having a classically trimmed arch. A dentil cornice separates the belfry from the steep roof upon which is a copper cross. The rectory is a five bay long, 2 1/2-story common bond brick building with a two-bay long hyphen on one end and a two-bay long kitchen on the other. Above each of the windows and doors is a jack arch of regular brick. The door is in the center bay. The cornice consists of three courses of corbeled brick. On the first floor the windows have 9/6 sash; those on the second story have 6/6 sash. There are two dormers on the southwest side of the gable roof, and three on the opposite side, each with 6/6 sash. A large stuccoed chimney rises from each gable. On the far end of the rectory is a one-story kitchen wing, also built of brick. Southeast of the church is the public graveyard. Behind the church is a small area covered with magnificent boxwoods indicating the resting place of the early priests who administered Old Bohemia and adjacent areas in Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

Significance: St. Francis Xavier Jesuit Mission, more commonly called Old Bohemia, is an important site in the 18th century history of Roman Catholicism. Beginning in 1704 the Society of Jesus initiated missionary activities on the site, thereby establishing a second mission in Maryland half a century after the foundation of the Newtown Manor mission in St. Mary's County. The Jesuits' territory included the Eastern Shore, Delaware, and southeastern Pennsylvania. To support their activities the Jesuits acquired almost 1200 acres that they operated as a working plantation. It included a grist and saw mill, brick kiln, blacksmith shop, still, ice house, barns, slave quarters, and a loading wharf on the south branch of the Bohemia River. The Jesuits' efforts, originating from missions such as from Old Bohemia and Newtown, laid the foundation for Roman Catholicism in America.




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