picryl logo
Library Of Congress
Library Of CongressPublic Domain ArchivePart of PICRYL.com. Not developed or endorsed by the Library of Congress
St. Catherine's Academy, 1520 Grande Avenue, San Rafael, Marin County, CA

St. Catherine's Academy, 1520 Grande Avenue, San Rafael, Marin County, CA



Significance: Considered "one of the most impressive structures in all Marin county," the Dominican Convent Motherhouse is significant for its historical associations to California's settlement period, through the connection of the convent's founder, Mother Mary Groemare who arrived in Monterey, California from Paris in 1850, and established the Sisters of St. Dominic order. In time, this order would ultimately expand in size and influence resulting in its having great consequence in the history of California education. The building itself is recognized for its architectural significance as a relatively rare Victorian era, Second Empire style, monumentally-scaled institutional structure, designed by one of the best-known regional architects of the period, Thomas J. Welsh. The building's physical context, as an observable remnant of both Spanish Land Grant properties, and the later William T. Coleman Tract development, around which the town of San Rafael grew, provides unique links to the physical evolution of the town of San Rafael. Additionally, the building's setting remains largely as originally planned in the 1880s, and specimen plants of the original historic landscape abound. Sadly, due to a devastating fire in 1990, the building has sustained the loss of significant historic fabric rendering its integrity below the standards normally required to allow the building's reconstruction. According to the EIR, "Because of this loss of integrity, the Motherhouse is not eligible for listing on the National Register in its damaged condition. If reconstruction of the third and fourth floor and roof were accurately executed according to the requirements of the National Park Service, the building would again be eligible for listing." Although there is no requirement for inclusion in the Mitigative Documentation Program under the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act, the Sisters of St. Dominic have commissioned this documentation which will be contained in the archives of their new buildings on the site of the original Motherhouse. Record documents will also be offered to the Main Library at San Rafael, and the Library of Congress HABS collection.
Survey number: HABS CA-2354
Building/structure dates: 1889 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1910 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1930 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1951 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1976 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1994 Demolished



Historic American Buildings Survey, creator
Welsh, Thomas J
Maul, David, transmitter




Library of Congress

Copyright info

Library Of Congress

The objects in this archive are from Library of Congress - the nation’s first established cultural institution and the largest library in the world, with millions of items including books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections. The Library provides Congress, the federal government and the American people with a rich, diverse and enduring source of knowledge to inform, inspire and engage them and support their intellectual and creative endeavors.

Disclaimer: A work of the Library of Congress is "a work prepared by an officer or employee" of the federal government "as part of that person's official duties." In general, under section 105 of the Copyright Act, such works are not entitled to domestic copyright protection under U.S. law and are therefore in the public domain. This website is developed as a part of the world's largest public domain archive, PICRYL.com, and not developed or endorsed by the Library of Congress,  https://www.picryl.com

Developed by GetArchive, 2015-2021