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Year Built


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F. Leone, 2022



St. Paul's Parish Episcopal Church has a long history, with its first church built on Washington Circle in 1866. The current church was built in 1948, when the George Washington University demolished its original building to build the (since relocated) GWU Hospital.

St. Paul's Parish (2430 K St.) was founded in 1866 and built its first church in 1868 at Washington Circle (917 23rd St. NW, now the block with Whole Foods grocery store). In 1944, the U.S government moved to condemn the block that included the Church and use the property to build a new hospital for The George Washington University. The Church filed a lawsuit challenging the condemnation. The challenge failed, but the Church received $152,500 in compensation and was allowed to remove its organ, pews, and other furnishings that were stored at government expense. Other residents of the block also sued unsuccessfully to stop their evictions. About 25% were African American residents who argued since the GWU Hospital would not admit them because of their race, government funds should not be used to build the hospital. The old church was demolished in 1944 and the congregation moved into the current building in 1948.

The current church was designed in the Gothic style by Philip H. Frohman, who had been the architect of Washington Cathedral since 1912. St. Paul's was built by W.E. Mooney & Co. The church is faced with irregular sized rectangular field stone and its tall vertical windows feature pointed arches. Since its founding, the Parish has followed the Episcopalian Anglo-Catholic tradition. For years, the Parish has had a strong musical tradition. It hosted the first vested choir (associated with a choral or sung service) in Washington and has a notable Schoenstein pipe organ.



Source Material 

FBA History Project, Foggy Bottom Historic District Walking Tour, "The Manila House and St. Paul's Church."
Spaulding, Dorothy, St. Paul’s Parish, Washington: 100 Years, Washington, DC, 1967
Kayser, Elmer Louis, "Bricks without Straw: The Evolution of George Washington University," New York: Appleton Century, 1970
Foggy Bottom News, "George Young A Foggy Bottom Treasure," by Deborah Cahill-Zelinka, January 1984

Local artist George Young's view of Snows Court from St. Paul Parish Hall, early 1980s (Foggy Bottom News)

Old St Paul's , Mar. 1887 (Harold D. Langley, Church of St. Stephen Martyr, 1967)

St. Paul's street view (F. Leone, Jan. 2022)

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