Saint Paul’s Church

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NRHP Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number


The congregation of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, successor to the colonial Bristol Parish, built its second downtown Petersburg church in the 1830s. This burned in 1854, necessitating the construction of the present building, dedicated May 19, 1857 by Bishop William Meade. Dominated by its broached steeple, this chaste Gothic Revival work with neo-Norman influences, was designed by the Baltimore firm of Niernsee and Neilson, which also supervised its construction. The partners, J. Crawford Neilson and John R. Niernsee, were leading designers of the period and provided works throughout Maryland and the South. Unlike the richly detailed contemporary northern churches built under the influence of the English Ecclesiological Society, St. Paul’s is a much freer interpretation of the Gothic style. Gen. Robert E. Lee worshipped here during the Siege of Petersburg and attended the 1867 wedding of his son “Rooney” to Mary Tabb Bolling.  The church is located in the Petersburg Courthouse Historic District.

Last Updated: June 2, 2023

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VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

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