St. James Parish Episcopal Church is the oldest church in the City of Wilmington, NC.
The Church was established in the year 1729 and has a long and rich history.
Proceeds from the sale of goods salvaged from a Spanish ship that was abandoned after an unsuccessful attack on Wilmington helped finance the construction of St. James.
The original church building for St. James was built and completed in 1770.
The church was torn down and rebuilt in 1839 using the original bricks of the church. Architect Thomas U. Walter, who designed the dome of the United States Capital, designed the new church building.
In the Civil War the church became a hospital for Union soldiers, who had taken the Confederate city of Wilmington after the fall of Fort Fisher.
The church is the final resting place of three Episcopal Bishops, Robert Strange, Thomas Atkinson, and Thomas H. Wright who are buried underneath the church.
The church’s parish house was built in 1923. Next to the parish house was a house built in 1901 by Donald MacRae. The MacRae house
later became church offices and was then referred to as The Church House. This beautiful house was designed by Henry Bacon, the architect of the Lincoln Memorial .
In 2011 the church began a major renovation of The Church House under the supervision of Wilmington Architect Henry Johnston. The office area was completely refitted with new electrical and data cabling including fiber optics.
The roof and shingles were completely replaced and the windows and shutters were painstakingly restored using authentic materials.