Maginnis & Walsh

MAGINNIS & WALSH, architects of Boston, Mass., and active there from 1906 to 1934. The partnership consisted of Charles Donah McGinnis (1867-1955), and Timothy Francis Walsh (1868-1934). Best known for their refined ecclesiastical work in the New England region, the firm was hired in 1919 to prepare plans for a new Roman Catholic Seminary in LONDON, ONT. (C.R., xxxiii, 3 Dec. 1919, 48). The high cost of their elaborate proposal, then estimated at $500,000, may have deterred the London Diocese from proceeding with the work, and the plans were set aside. Six years later, in 1925, the Diocese hired the Windsor, Ont. firm of Pennington & Boyde to prepare plans for a scaled-down version of the Seminary, and their Collegiate Gothic design was completed and opened in September 1926.

In 1927 McGinnis & Walsh were commissioned to design the new Roman Catholic Church of the Ascension, Kitchener Avenue at Sherbrooke Street West, WESTMOUNT, QUE., in collaboration with local associate architect E.J. Turcotte (C.R., xli, 11 May 1927, 54; xlii, 29 Feb. 1928, 50; R.A.I.C. Journal, v, June 1928, 212-14, illus. & descrip.; vi, Aug. 1929, p. xxxi, illus. in advert.; Montreal, Les Eglises, 1981, 4-7, illus.; F. Remillard & B. Merrett, Montreal Architecture, 1990, 57, illus.). A mature and sophisticated neo-Gothic design, it rivals some of the finest ecclesiastical work executed in this style in Canada by leading architects such as Henry Sproatt, Louis N. Audet, and Hugh Jones.

In the United States, their best know work is undoubtedly that of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. (begun 1920; completed 1959), the largest Roman Catholic Cathedral in the country. From the formation of the partnership in 1896 until the death of Walsh in 1934, the firm was credited with over 115 ecclesiastical works, all for the Roman Catholic church. Maginnis served two terms as President of the American Inst. of Architects in 1937 and 1938, and was later awarded the Gold Medal from the A.I.A. in 1947. He died in Boston on 15 February 1955 (obit. New York Times, 16 Feb. 1955, 29; Architectural Forum [New York], cii, March 1955, 29; biog. of C.D. Maginnis in The American Catholic Who’s Who, 1911, 297; biog. Francis W. Kervick, Architects in America of Catholic Tradition, 1962, 90). Walsh died in Boston on 7 July 1934 (obit. Boston Herald, 8 July 1934; biog. H. Withey, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects, 1956, 629; biog. Francis W. Kervick, Architects in America of Catholic Tradition, 1962, 136).

A lengthy essay by Maginnis entitled “Architectural modernism and the church: Works of McGinnis & Walsh” was published in Architectural Forum [New York], Vol. 50, March 1929, 417-24, and includes illustrations of recent American works by the firm.