was founded in 1864 by two laymen (Samuel
Batchelder and George Dexter), a retired clergyman, the Rev.
Andrew Croswell, and his wife, Caroline Augusta Croswell. All four
had been parishioners at Christ Church in nearby Harvard Square
and shared a desire to start an Episcopal mission in the rough and
noisy cattle market area of North Cambridge.
Longfellow Greenleaf (1816-1902, pictured at right, top) was one
of the new church's most faithful supporters. Her brother was the
poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (who wrote, among other things,
"The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere"). Widow to the wealthy
merchant, James Greenleaf, she was also Caroline Croswell's sister-in-law.
The church's Greenleaf window (#2 on the
floorplan) is an early 20th century
tribute to the life and work of this generous and remarkable patron
of St. James's. It was her
generosity that funded both the entire original church building,
called the "Chapel," including furnishings, 1870-71 (photo
right, center), and the entire chancel (photo right, below) of the
new church, begun in 1888 and designed by the New York architect,
Henry M. Congdon.
the parish had purchased the corner lot next to the Chapel, where
the old Davenport Tavern still stood. By some irony, this was the
very tavern where British soldiers stopped for a drink that fateful
night of April 19, 1775, before proceeding to Lexington and Concord
and the historic battle with the Minutemen. Paul Revere and his
friends may have arrived in Concord ahead of the British, but part
of him remains today on the site of the old Davenport Tavern. It
is a church bell repaired and rebuilt by Paul Revere that graces
the very corner of St. James's beneath Mrs. Greenleaf's memorial
window. St. James's historical "Paul Revere Bell" rings
out at the beginning of every Sunday morning's 10:30 worship service.
including the high altar windows, were Mrs. Greenleaf's gift as
a memorial to her husband. The windows arrived from London on November
4, 1889, the day before the appointed opening of the new church.
However, the windows had broken so badly in transit that they were
shipped to New York for repairs, and the church opened without them.
black and white photo at right shows the windows in their context,
as part of the chancel art evoking the liturgical hymn, the Te
Deum; see the introduction
for color images. This hymn is also echoed in the garlands of the
stained glass angel windows high
above each side of the choir.