James O'Donnell (architect)
County Wexford, Ireland
|Died||January 28, 1830
|Buildings||Notre-Dame Basilica (Montreal)|
- For other usages of the name, please refer to James O'Donnell (disambiguation).
In 1812, at the age of 38, O'Donnell migrated to the United States and took up residence in New York City, where he successfully practised as an architect. His major works in that city were the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum (1818–21, demolished c. 1892), the Fulton Market (1821–22, demolished 1936), and Christ Church (1822–23, destroyed by fire 1847). O’Donnell took his inspiration for the last building from the neo-Gothic style, which he favoured throughout his career. In 1817, he was elected to the American Academy of the Fine Arts in New York.
For some years James O’Donnell had suffered from edema, and from July 1829 his condition worsened. In November he dictated his will; at that point he decided to convert from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism. He died shortly afterwards, on January 28, 1830. He is the only person buried in the crypt of the Basilica. O'Donnell converted to Catholicism on his deathbed, perhaps due to the realization that he might not be allowed to be buried in his church.
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