St. Paul’s parish was founded in 1838 and consecrated in 1843. The original building was located on the corner of Alabama Avenue and Lauderdale Street, one block south of the present church building. In April 1865, following the Civil War Battle of Selma, General James H. Wilson and his raiders burned much of Selma including St. Paul’s Church.
After the war, a temporary church building was erected and services held there while the current building was under construction. In 1871, the cornerstone of the present building was laid and it was completed in 1875. The first service in the new church was held on Easter Sunday of that year. This English Gothic Revival style building was designed by the renowned New York architectural firm of Richard Upjohn, who revolutionized church architecture in the United States with the design of Trinity Church in New York City.
The church has been altered very little from the original plans. The bricks were handmade on the site and were laid as specified: twelve inches thick on the outer wall, eight inches on the inner wall, with four inches for ventilation between the two walls. The granite sills, steps, and buttress caps were brought from Stone Mountain, Georgia for $3500, one-tenth of the final cost of the church. The interior features several Tiffany stained glass windows designed by parishioner and Selma native, Clara Weaver Parrish, who was a noted artist who worked for Tiffany Studios in New York.
St. Paul’s was placed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1975. It is also a contributing property to Selma’s “Old Town Historic District” that was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 3, 1978. This church is located at 210 Lauderdale Street near downtown Selma (GPS coordinates 32.409087,-87.021571).
Photographs courtesy of RuralSWAlabama.