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St. Paul's Church
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
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.