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St. Paul's Church

St. Paul's Church

St. Paul's Church
Virginia Department of Historic Resources


Philadelphia’s noted architect of the Greek Revival, Thomas S. Stewart, designed St. Paul’s Church. Stewart was also responsible for the monumental Egyptian Building, completed in the same year as the church, 1845. St. Paul’s is a noteworthy example of Greek Revival architecture. Built of stuccoed brick in the form of a Roman temple, the church has a podium base and side bays separated by pilasters modeled after St. Luke’s in Philadelphia. The Roman form incorporates Greek Revival styling with a high degree of detail. A massive entrance portico of eight columns with ornate Corinthian capitals dominates the exterior of the building. An octagonal dome replaced the original 225 foot-high spire, long since removed due to fear of its instability.

On the interior, impressive plaster reliefs on the ceiling and Tiffany stained glass windows complement the grand Corinthian columns that frame the building’s nave and circular apse. The original pews are still in use. The architect also designed the intricate, locally-made cast iron fence that rings the property. Richmond architects Baskervill & Son designed the 1959 stuccoed parish house and connecting colonnade that admirers describe as a restrained and handsome asset to the church complex.

St. Paul's Church historic

St. Paul's Episcopal Church
c. 1910
Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries

St. Paul’s has served as a house of worship for some of the South’s most famous citizens including Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and many of Virginia’s governors. During the morning service at St. Paul’s on April 2, 1865, President Davis received word that General Lee and the Confederate army were on the brink of defeat at Petersburg, Virginia. Thus began the infamous evacuation of Richmond and subsequent fire that would destroy much of the city. This is just one of the many historical associations that make the church one of the South’s most significant landmarks.

Plan your visit
St. Paul’s Church is located at 815 E. Grace St. on the southwest corner of 9th and Grace Sts.  The church is open to the public.  For information, call 804-643-3859 or visit the St. Paul's Episcopal Church website.
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