Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

160-0005 St. James Church

St. James Church
Photo credit: David Edwards/DHR, 2022

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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 11/05/1968

NRHP Listing Date 06/11/1969

NRHP Reference Number 69000215

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 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 church bell was cast in Spain in 1816.

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

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

Updated: June 6, 2022