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St. Paul's Episcopal Church

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1841, John Cain. East side of Wells Green, Wells village
  • (Photograph by Curtis B. Johnson, C. B. Johnson Photography)

Set against a mountain backdrop at the terminus of a vista from Main Street, St. Paul's is a diminutive expression of Vermont Episcopalians' penchant for Gothic Revival. It is the most pristinely preserved example of several such churches built by John Cain, who began a joinery business with his brother William in 1832. In addition to St. Paul's, John is credited with churches in Pittsford (1837; RU11), Rutland (1833), East Danby (1838), Danby Four Corners (1840), East Dorset (c. 1845), and Bethel (1846). The Wells church, though frame rather than brick, shares many features with the Pittsford church. It, too, has Federal roots, evident in corner pilasters, friezes, cornice returns, square-headed triple-hung sash, and a tower with a diminished belfry stage. The tower projects slightly to break the gable and is crowned at two levels with pierced crenellations and bold pinnacles, and is the best-preserved and most complete set of these details in the state. The single door at the base of the tower is capped with a pointed-arched window with lancet mullion work and interlaced muntins, echoed by a taller window. As important as this latter window is to the composition of the facade, it has no interior function and is blind and painted.

Writing Credits

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson


What's Nearby


Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "St. Paul's Episcopal Church", [Wells, Vermont], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Vermont

Buildings of Vermont, Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 96-97.

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