St. James Episcopal Church, photo 1971
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Saint James Episcopal Church
25150 East River Road, Grosse Ile - Wayne County
Property Type church
Historic Use RELIGION
Current Use RELIGION
Style Late Gothic Revival
Architect/Builder Gordon W. Lloyd
Significant Person Elisabeth (Lisette) Denison Forth
Narrative Description Saint James Episcopal Church is a front-gable, Carpenter's Gothic frame building with walls covered with vertical board and batten. The double-door entrance is located in a side-entry, gabled vestibule. Scalloped, pierced vergeboards decorate the gables of the structure and simple capped buttresses support the walls. The building features stained glass lancet windows including one from Tiffany and Company. A frame steeple surmounts the front-gable and completes the structure.
Statement of Significance Saint James Episcopal Church is the oldest church building on Grosse Ile and was built with funds from the estate of Elisabeth (Lisette) Denison Forth. The building was designed by renown Detroit architect Gordon W. Lloyd and primarily funded by Forth, a former slave who willed $3,000 to build the church. Forth's longtime employers, the William Biddle family, supplemented the funding of the project. Constructed from 1867 to 1868, the church has undergone several additions and repairs but remains primarily original and in excellent condition.
Marker Name St. James Episcopal Chapel
Marker Text ST. JAMES EPISCOPAL CHAPEL Lisette Denison, a freed slave, willed her life savings to build Saint James Episcopal Chapel. With supplemental funds from her employer, William S. Biddle, and his brother James, this Gothic chapel was constructed in the summer of 1867. The architect was English-trained Gordon W. Lloyd of Detroit, who summered on Grosse Ile. The first rector was the Reverend Moses H. Hunter. James Biddle built a rough altar cross, a minister's kneeling bench, and a reading stand for the first services, which were held in 1868.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) 1868
Registry Type(s) 08/12/1981 Marker erected
11/19/1971 National Register listed
05/18/1971 State Register listed
Site ID# P25387