George I. Lovatt, Sr., proved to be a formidable competitor for the considerable Catholic church work which was initiated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Although Edwin Forrest Durang and Henry Dagit designed a number of Catholic church and institutional buildings during this time, Durang's firm was inherited by his son F. Ferdinand Durang and during the 1930s moved to New York City, leaving Henry D. Dagit, George I. Lovatt, Sr., and the Hoffman-Henon firm to divide major Catholic commissions in the city.
Lovatt studied at the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art during the academic terms 1890/91 and 1892/93. His first documented commission occurred as a result of the death of Adrian Worthington Smith, who had begun work on the Monastery of the Visitation in Wilmington, DE (now demolished). Following Smith's death in 1892, Lovatt completed the convent and continued his studies at the PMSI at the same time. He does not appear in Philadelphia city directories until 1894 as an architect, with offices at 424 Walnut Street.
Lovatt's firm received both local and national honors, gleaning a commendation for the Church of the Most Precious Blood, 26th and Diamond streets, Philadelphia, in 1926 at the International Exhibition held in Barcelona, Spain. He followed this honor in 1930 by winning the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA's gold medal for his Church of the Holy Child, Broad and Duncannon streets, Philadelphia. In 1927 he was joined in the firm by his son George I. Lovatt, Jr., but he did not retire until 1940.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art
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