Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002, St. Joseph's Convent and School is located at 517 Moody Street and played significant roles in developing and nurturing Lowell's French-Canadian community for over 100 years. The two buildings are notable as rare survivors from Lowell's Little Canada neighborhood, an area that was largely leveled in the mid 20th century as part of urban renewal efforts.
In 1883, the Archdiocese of Boston opened St. Joseph's School, the first French-speaking school in the Archdiocese, to help preserve the traditions and culture of Lowell's French-Canadian community. Built in the Italianate style, the brick building rises three stories above a raised basement finished in granite with a prominent wood cornice featuring paired brackets.
The adjacent three-story tall red brick convent was built in 1911 and was designed in the Colonial Revival style.
School enrollment grew steadily up to the mid 20th century with several nearby facilities being built to augment the original school building on Moody Street. However, the early 1960s saw the school enrollment decline as urban renewal destroyed many of the houses and apartments in the Little Canada neighborhood around the school. Residents were forced to move to different parishes and school. The school finally closed its doors in 1993 and the convent was shuttered in 1994. In 2001, the Coalition for a Better Acre rehabilitated the convent into a community service center and in 2008, converted the school into 15 units of affordable housing.