St. James the Less

Historic postcard, Courtesy of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Working as a team, Kate Cowing Architect, LLC and Philip E. Scott Architect completed a condition assessment report for St. James the Less in Philadelphia. The church is a National Historic Landmark constructed in 1846-48 using plans provided by the Ecclesiastical Society. It was constructed using measured drawings of a true gothic parish church, St. Michaels Church in Longstanton, Cambridgeshire, built c. 1230.

The condition assessment found that while much of the church is in good condition, deterioration of the masonry is extensive. Excessive moisture and humidity in the building was noted in meeting minutes by the late 19th century. Additionally, hard mortar has trapped the moisture within the walls and columns resulting in significant ongoing stone deterioration. Non-destructive testing was added to the scope of work to help root out the source of the moisture. Interestingly, the testing has determined that the original mortar contained Portland cement. Portland cement was not available in the United States until the late 19th century, meaning the cement for the church was imported.

This project has been awarded a construction grant under the Keystone Historic Preservation Fund.

Related Projects

Byberry Friends Meeting House Complex

Byberry, a very early Quaker Meeting, was established in 1683, and received the first acre of the current site as a gift in 1694. The…

Zion Baptist Church

Kate Cowing was first introduced to Zion Baptist Church through an initiative called Sacred Places/Civic Spaces. This initiative, by the Community Design Collaborative and Partners…

Scroll to Top