St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church

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St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church
St James2.jpg
St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church, September 2012
St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church is located in Baltimore
St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church
St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church is located in Maryland
St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church
St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church is located in the United States
St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church
LocationAisquith St. at Eager St., Baltimore, Maryland
Coordinates39°18′4″N 76°36′8″W / 39.30111°N 76.60222°W / 39.30111; -76.60222Coordinates: 39°18′4″N 76°36′8″W / 39.30111°N 76.60222°W / 39.30111; -76.60222
Arealess than one acre
Built1865 (1865)-1867
ArchitectChurch, Frederick Aloysius; Et al.
Architectural styleGothic, Romanesque
NRHP reference No.82004750[1]
Added to NRHPMarch 15, 1982

St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church, also known as St. James and St. John's Roman Catholic Church, is a historic Roman Catholic church located at Baltimore, Maryland, United States and was one of the earliest neighborhood parishes established in the central city (1833). On March 29, 2020 lightning struck the steeple, causing the building to catch fire and partially collapse.


St. James the Less was built by Bishop James Whitfield, at his personal expense. He laid the cornerstone on May 1833 and consecrated the church a year later. Bishop Whitfield died the following October..[2]

In 1966, the neighbouring parish of St. John the Evangelist was closed, and the new parish of St. James and St. John, was formed, the congregation worshipping at St. James. The parish was dissolved around 1986, and the former St. James Church was sold to an evangelical church. Most regrettably, the church has been stripped of its windows, altars, marble communion rail, pipe organ, and other artifacts, and the church has been whitewashed, destroying its beautiful and historic murals.

St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.[1]

On the morning of March 28, 2020, the church had a devastating fire that resulted in the destruction of the steeple of the church. [3]


The church is an early work of George A. Frederick (1842-1924), a prolific and prominent architect in Baltimore who designed various buildings in the city including the Baltimore City Hall in 1875.[4] It is a High Victorian Gothic influenced brick structure with Romanesque Revival overtones built 1865-67. It has a tall central tower and featured an ornate interior with marble sculpture and murals. The church is 184 feet long, 65 feet wide, and the ceiling is 51 feet from the floor. The steeple, at 256 feet, is the second tallest church tower in the city (next to First and Franklin Street Presbyterian Church at West Madison Street and Park Avenue, in Mount Vernon-Belveere neighborhood, constructed 1875), which dominates Old East Baltimore. The cross surmounting the spire, is 10 feet tall. There is a peal of four bells in the tower, the largest weighing 5000 pounds, cast by McShane of Baltimore, in 1885. The tower clock was installed during the same year.

The magnificent and priceless 25 foot-high Mayer windows were installed in 1891.[4] The interior features three large interior murals painted about 1886 by the German-born artist William Lamprecht and marble sculpture work by the Baltimore sculptor Joseph Martin Sudsburg.[5]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ Shea, John Gilmary. "Most Reverend James Whitfield", The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church, Office of Catholic Publications, 1886, p. 71 This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ Robinette, Kimi. "4-Alarm Fire Partially Collapses Steeple At Urban Bible Fellowship In Baltimore", March 28 2020
  4. ^ a b "St. James the Less Catholic Church & Rectory, 1225 East Eager Street, Baltimore, Independent City, MD", Library of Congress
  5. ^ Jeffrey Honick (November 1980). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church" (PDF). Maryland Historical Trust. Retrieved 2016-04-01.

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