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St. John's Episcopal Church

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1844, Dabney Cosby Jr. 197 Mountain Rd.

After Dabney Cosby moved to Raleigh in 1839, his son, Cosby Jr., stayed in the area and continued building in his father's tradition of fine brickwork. In the 1840s, Cosby Jr. built four important buildings on Mountain Road: this church, Magnolia Hill (not visible from the road), Grand Oaks (HX8), and St. John's Rectory. Like the earlier church (HX5) the Episcopal congregation sold to the Methodists, it is temple form with a polygonal louvered belfry, but Cosby Jr.'s pedimented, stuccoed, and scored Greek Revival St. John's is more stylish. Its double-door central entrance is flanked by Doric pilasters repeated at the corners and supporting a full entablature that continues around the building. The single entrance lacks any molding, which lends an austere effect to the facade. The tall spire is a nod to early Gothic Revival. With their new church, the Episcopalians confirmed their resurgence and newly recovered prestige after decades of decline. Cosby Jr.'s rectory (1844; 484 Mountain) is a three-bay two-story brick building set on a high basement and capped with a hipped roof and has been modified with two-over-two sash windows and a later one-bay front porch. Cosby Jr., who was a member of St. John's congregation, is buried in the church's cemetery.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee


What's Nearby


Anne Carter Lee, "St. John's Episcopal Church", [Halifax, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Virginia vol 2

Buildings of Virginia: Valley, Piedmont, Southside, and Southwest, Anne Carter Lee and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 352-353.

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