Thursday, December 4, 2008

A very brief history

The first Episcopal worship service was held in Taylor in 1878. The service was conducted by the Reverend Edwin Wickens who continued to hold services periodically for the next several years. The first Bishop’s visitation was November 7, 1880 when Bishop Gregg conducted services. For several years, services were held in various homes and in the Opera House.

St. James’ parish was formed April 25, 1885 when a small group petitioned the Diocese of Texas to accept it as a new parish.

In 1893, parishioners built the church that stands today at the corner of Seventh and Davis Streets. The cruciform church was built with three different woods: oak, cypress, and pine. The tall steeple and bell and classic design are in the tradition of Episcopal churches built in that era.

The church’s tracker action pipe organ is rare and historic. It was built by George Jardine and Sons in New York around 1890 along the traditional lines of the old European pipe organs. Originally installed in a church in Waco, St. James’ acquired it in 1894. For many years, young men of the church took turns hand-pumping bellows air into the organ. Later, the organ was converted to an electric wind system.

In 1970, the church received a Historical Marker from the State ofTexas.

The Parish Hall and offices were added in1990. In 2001, the large lot next to the Parish Hall was purchased to give the church room for future parking and expansion

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