St. James Church

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NRHP Listing Date


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An architectural highlight of the town of Accomac, St. James Episcopal Church was built between 1838 and 1843 with bricks salvaged from the colonial St. James Chapel which stood two miles south of the Accomack County town. With its Greek Doric portico and entablature with continuous guttae, the church is an interesting regionalized interpretation of the Greek Revival style. Of primary interest are the rare trompe l’oeil painted decorations on the interior walls and ceiling. The apsidal arch with its false-perspective vaulting and the other painted embellishments combine to make a skillful image that indeed worked to “fool the eye.” The creator of this ambitious undertaking was Jean G. Potts, an itinerant artist who later became the keeper of the Cape Charles Lighthouse. Another noteworthy interior feature of the Accomac church is a divided stair leading to the rear gallery. The bell for St. James Church was cast in Spain in 1816.

Last Updated: July 6, 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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Nomination Form


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