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Grace Episcopal Church

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Robert E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church
1872–1886, Baldwin and Price. 123 W. Washington St.

The congregation replaced a Greek Revival church with this, one of Lexington's finest examples of Gothic Revival, a style especially popular among Episcopal congregations. The rusticated stone church has side buttresses, traceried stained glass windows, and a side tower with a soaring spire. The interior, central-aisled nave has impressive hammer-beam roof trusses. The most famous member of the congregation was Robert E. Lee, who was an active parishioner, serving on the vestry from his arrival in Lexington in 1865 to his death in 1870. The church, which was named in his honor in 1903, was renamed in 2017. One distinctive feature is the High Victorian Gothic interior painting that survives over the altar area. Paid for in 1883 by Lee's son, G. W. Custis Lee, the decorative scheme originally covered all the walls, but that proved to be too much for the congregation's twentieth-century sensibilities, and in the 1930s it was painted over. Besides the altar area, one fragment of the original work has also been preserved on the west wall.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Anne Carter Lee
Updated By: 
Gabrielle Esperdy
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Data

Timeline

  • 1872

    Gothic revival church constructed.
  • 1903

    Church named in honor of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
  • 2017

    Church renamed.

What's Nearby

Citation

Anne Carter Lee, "Grace Episcopal Church", [Lexington, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/VA-02-RB15.

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, 126-126.

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