History of St. James
The parish of St. James has been an integral an influential part of the Woodstock community since the summer of 1826. Dr. Joseph A. Gallup, gave the land on which the first church was built. The church was ready in time for the Christmas Eve service in 1827 and was consecrated on September 28, 1828.
The First Building
The site for St. James was given by Dr. Gallup for the sum of one dollar, to be held solely for the erection and maintenance of a church in the Protestant Episcopal Order, "as long as wood grows and water runs." The financing of the movement was left to the substantial men in the parish, and from the account-book of the building committee we find that General Lyman Mower and John A. Pratt advanced, in about equal proportions, three-fourths of the cost of the edifice. As soon as the organization of the parish was satisfactorily accomplished, plans for the church were drawn, calling for a building with two alleys, the chancel projecting into the body of the square building with three pews on either side facing towards it (now the Choir area); the organ and choir being in the gallery, and the whole heated by a large stove at the right of the door. The recessed chancel and vestry and organ rooms were added subsequently.
Dr. Gallup and other parish founders, including Amos Warren, John A. Pratt, Lyman Mower, Darius and Royal Pratt and Abraham Stearns, acquired stone for the new church, but plans for it had to be abandoned when potash was found under the site. A simplified Gothic, wood-frame building was substituted, whose crenellated tower held one of the four Paul Revere bells that grace Woodstock today.
The present church was built in 1907, designed in English Gothic style by the renowned architects, Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson of Boston and New York, and constructed of stone drawn from Quechee - at a cost of less than $30,000 - adn consecrated on March 13, 1908. Ralph Adams Cram (1863-1942), born in New Hampshire, designed the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, and several buildings at Princeton University in what came to be known as "collegiate" Gothic. St. James is considered one of Cram's most distinguished smaller churches, with its ideal proportions and extraordinary sense of space.