Georgetown University, Healy Building, Thirty-seventh & O Streets, Northwest, Washington, District of Columbia, DC
Significance: Healy Building is the most prominent structure on the University campus and a picturesque landmark for all Georgetown. Its construction marked the evolution of the school toward true University status. It was designed by the architects Smithmeyer and Pelz, who also designed the Library of Congress.
Survey number: HABS DC-248
Building/structure dates: 1877 Initial Construction
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 67000025
The 1646 defeat of the Royalists in the English Civil War led to stringent laws against Roman Catholic education and the extradition of known Jesuits from the Province of Maryland that was founded by Jesuit settlers from England in 1634. Jesuits conducted Catholic schools secretly until the end of the American Revolution that allowed for the free practice of religion. Following Benjamin Franklin's recommendation, Pope Pius VI appointed former Jesuit John Carroll as the first head of the Roman Catholic Church in America, even though the papal suppression of the Jesuit order was still in effect. Carroll began meetings of local clergy in 1783 near Annapolis, Maryland and published his proposals for a school at Georgetown in 1787. On January 23, 1789, Carroll finalized the purchase of the property in Georgetown. Future Congressman William Gaston was enrolled as the school's first student on November 22, 1791, and instruction began on January 2, 1792.