Jeremiah O'Rourke

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jeremiah O'Rourke
Known forArchitect

Jeremiah O'Rourke, FAIA, (1833, Dublin – 1915), was an Irish-American architect known primarily for his designs of Roman Catholic churches and institutions and Federal post offices. He was a founder of the Newark-based architectural firms of Jeremiah O'Rourke (active from the 1850s to the 1880s) and Jeremiah O'Rourke & Sons (active from the 1880s until his death).

Early life[edit]

Born in Dublin, Ireland, In 1850, and graduated from the Government School of Design, Queens College, Cork. He thereafter emigrated to the United States.[1]


He set up his architectural firm in Newark, New Jersey, where he was Patrick Charles Keely's chief "competitor for Roman Catholic church and institutional commissions in metropolitan New York and northern New Jersey."[1]

He became a member and Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1886.[2]

O'Rourke was appointed to the office of the United States Supervising Architect in Washington, D.C. on the recommendation of both New Jersey senators in early 1893 at an annual salary of $4,500, succeeding W. J. Edbrooke of Chicago[3] (other sources state he was appointed under the administration of Grover Cleveland (March 4, 1885 – March 4, 1889 and January 1, 1883 – January 6, 1885)[1]), where he designed several federal post offices.[4] (President Cleveland served two terms, 1885-1889 and from 1893-1897, so he did in fact appoint O'Rourke as Supervisory Architect. [5]

He returned in 1894 to private practice, founding Jeremiah O'Rourke & Sons in Newark, New Jersey and New York City with sons William P. O'Rourke, Joseph B. O'Rourke, and Louis J. O'Rourke. O'Rourke and his sons specialized in ecclesiastical designs.[1]

O'Rourke died April 22, 1915.[6]


  • Church of the Immaculate Conception (Camden, New Jersey) (completed 1953), Camden, New Jersey[1]
  • St. John's Church (Orange, NJ), Orange, New Jersey[1](Gothic Revival—English Gothic, with some French Gothic Details,) Completed 1868; Church has 200 foot spire—when interviewed by a New York Newspaper reporter shortly before he died (b.1833-d. 1915) he commented that "St. John's" was his favorite design
  • The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Newark, New Jersey), Newark, New Jersey[1]
  • Church of St. Paul the Apostle (New York City) (1876–1884)
  • Hotel Lorraine, 545 5th Avenue (1930), New York City, 13 stories[7]
  • Old Post Office (1901), Buffalo, New York[7]
  • Old Post Office Building (1899), Federal Triangle, Washington, D.C., 12 stories[7]
  • Old United States Courthouse and Post Office (1894), Duluth, Minnesota, 6 stories[7]
  • St. Michael's Church, Newark, Cornerstone, April 24, 1878
  • Sacred Heart Bloomfield, Completed and dedicated on Oct. 16,1892
  • Cathedral (Basilica) of the Sacred Heart, Newark, New Jersey, Cornerstone, 1899, Primary Architect 1899-1910
  • St. Michael's Hospital ca. 1868.--It had a magnificent Gothic Revival chapel. The Newark Archdiocese intended it to be a public (City) hospital, and thought that the City could help support it. The city wasn't interested, however the hospital was built, My Aunt remembers that when Catholics were being canvassed to support it, that anyone who donated to the cause would be assured of a hospital bed. It was staffed for over one hundred years by Franciscan nuns. Also, it is said that at its cornerstone laying, it was the first time that blacks and whites marched together in procession in the United States.
  • Holy Cross Church Harrison, cornerstone 1886, the spires were never added; A brownstone cathedralesque structure, with virtually intact interior; side porches are additions; aisle
  • St. Anthony's Church Jersey City (Near Holland Tunnel) was closed, not sure if it has been reopened or demolished -Note date,5.26.2016
  • St. Mary's Plainfield, New Jersey, cornerstone (November 18, 1875 dedicated September 8, 1880 red brick structure with ornamental details of white brick, and black brick at window heads nice tower, beautifully capped, handsome gargoyles
  • St. Aloysius Church, Newark, cornerstone June 20, 1880; Description: Brownstone, 132x 60, Gothic, internal ceiling with finish of oak panel. Cost, ca. $45,000.

Newark, St. Josephs, Cornerstone Nov. 28, 1872; Closed about thirty years. Currently the home of the Priory Restaurant, and clinic offices. Seton Hall college (early buildings for campus) Immaculate Conception Chapel Completely restored internally and externally. The interior is Liturgically exquisite, the exposed hammer beam roof is beautifully restored and has colorfully painted motifs.

O'Rourke also designed numerous convents, schools, and rectories, (St. Patrick's pro-Cathedral Rectory adjacent to the Pro Cathedral on Washington Street and Central Avenue is from his pen. It is a beautiful building Tudor Gothic (I think) Interior has been completely renovated.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Decker, Kevin F. "Jeremiah O'Rourke (1833-1915)", University of Plattsburgh, New York (2000)
  2. ^ "The AIA Historical Directory of American Architects". Archived from the original on 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2010-02-22.
  3. ^ [1] "MR. O'ROURKE'S RESIGNATION DEMANDED.; Secretary Carlisle Calls for the Immediate Retirement of the Supervising Architect." New York Times. September 18, 1894.
  4. ^ [2] "MR. O'ROURKE'S RESIGNATION DEMANDED.; Secretary Carlisle Calls for the Immediate Retirement of the Supervising Architect." New York Times. September 18, 1894.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Henry F. Withey, A.I.A., and Elsie Rathburn Withey, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased) (Los Angeles: New Age Publishing Company, 1956. Facsimile edition, Hennessey & Ingalls, Inc., 1970)
  7. ^ a b c d "Jeremiah O'Rourke" Emporis
Preceded by
Willoughby J. Edbrooke
Office of the Supervising Architect
Succeeded by
William Martin Aiken