Eminent architect Matthew W. Del Gaudio died on September 17, 1960. One of his most well-known buildings is right here in the heart of the South Village, Our Lady of Pompeii Church, which stands on the corner of Bleecker and Carmine Streets.
The building that stands today was constructed in the years 1926 – 1928, but the parish had had several homes prior. In 1890, it began in a building located at 113 Waverly Place, as part of the Saint Raphael Society for the Protection of Italian Immigrants, under the leadership of Father Pietro Bandini. Father Bandini named his chapel there “Our Lady of Pompeii.” He worked to help the many Italian immigrants adjust to their new lives in America. By 1895, the Society moved to 214 Sullivan Street, but fire forced them out and they moved to an existing church at 210 Bleecker Street. This church was originally built in 1836 for the Unitarian Universalists, but was sold to the African American Roman Catholic congregation of Saint Benedict the Moor in 1883. There had been a significant African-American population in the area around Minetta Street, but as the century was coming to a close, they began moving further uptown, and Our Lady of Pompeii parish acquired the property and moved in on May 8, 1898 under the leadership of Father Antonio Demo.
In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, a major construction project, the 6th Avenue extension, required the demolition of the church. The parish built the new Del Gaudio church a short distance away. You can read more about Del Gaudio’s beautiful church HERE (scroll down to page 106).
Matthew W. Del Gaudio was born March 16, 1889 and attended P.S. 83, Cooper Union, and Columbia University. He worked as a draftsman at the firm Moore & Lanseidel from 1905 to 1909, and then opened his private practice at 545 Fifth Avenue. He also served in the World War I armed forces from 1917 to 1919, and remained in the reserve forces until 1943.
Some of his other noteworthy projects were St. Anthony’s School in the Bronx, the Pierre Apartments in Brooklyn, the Shore Road Theater, and Dyker Theater in Brooklyn, and he was an associate for the Morrissania Houses, and a consultant for the Parkchester Houses, both in the Bronx. Del Gaudio was licensed in New York, New Jersey, Illinois and California.
He was a member of the New York Society of Architects from 1930-37, serving as President for the last two years. He was Director of the AIA NY Chapter from 1941 to 1945, and President of the New York State Association of Architects from 1945 to 47.
The Matthew W. Del Gaudio Service Award, established in 1971, is awarded annually by the AIANYS in recognition of “outstanding and significant service by an AIANYS member to the profession through promoting the profession of architecture. The Del Gaudio Service Award shall be conferred on an AIANYS member who has provided distinguished service to AIANYS and demonstrated notable competence advancing the profession of architecture. The Del Gaudio Service Award winner will have also demonstrated an active interest and leadership role in AIANYS.” And so the legacy of this accomplished architect lives on.