The 1890s Gothic facade and tower of St. James, appended to an earlier, simpler brick church, provide interesting comparisons with St. Matthew's, directly across Chapline Street. The material (quarry-faced yellow sandstone) is the same, and each church has a prominent tower and spire rising to the left of a gabled facade. Somehow, the older St. Matthew's provides a more convincing evocation of the mutual medieval heritage that it and St. James share.
The church was originally known as St. James German Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the lines of the original building are clearly visible on the north side wall. Inside, the second-floor sanctuary shows little or nothing of the 1890s Gothic remodeling; it has round-arched windows rather than the pointed arches of the later facade. To the south, a 1986 church school and office addition, faced in orange brick, approaches the older building with a series of jagged rooflines that appear to be pointing, or praying, to the spire.