The old St. James Episcopal Church at 600 NE Oak Street is the second oldest Episcopal Church in Whitman County, and the oldest extant Episcopal Church in the city of Pullman. Constructed in 1912, the church has an architectural lineage that dates several centuries in the past. Initially associated with the Anglican Church in England and later with the Episcopal faith in the United States, the early English Ecclesiastical Gothic Revival parish church design spread rapidly, influenced greatly by Richard Upjohn (1802-1878).
The building was designed by William Swain (1856-1934), an Englishman who moved to Pullman in 1891, during a major rebuilding period that resulted from the devastating 1890 fire. Swain is responsible for many of the towns notable constructions, including Pullman High School (1892), Pullman City Hall (1892), the Artesian Hotel (1893) the Flatiron Building (1904-05), United Presbyterian Church/Greystone (1914), and his own Craftsman-style home in 1917, just to name a few. Both the United Presbyterian Church and his Craftsman home are listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Swain also served as a civic leader, and held positions as Justice of the Peace/Police Court Judge (1900-1921), City Clerk (1898), City Treasurer (1901), City Council member (1914-1917), and interim Mayor (1917-1918).
Plateau articulated the eligibility of this building for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) based on two criteria. First, the structure’s association with a well-known or historically significant individual in William Swain, and second, its embodiment of characteristics distinctive of the Gothic Revival architectural style of the mid-19th to early-20th century.
Location: Whitman County, Washington