Dudley, Henry C. (1813-1894)
Henry C. Dudley (1813-1894) was an English-born New York architect who specialized in Gothic Revival ecclesiastical architecture. Most of his work was in the northeastern states. His known work in North Carolina was in Wilmington, a city long familiar with architects from New York and other northern cities. Dudley partnered with Gothic Revival architect Frank Wills during the 1850s. Dudley was with Thomas U. Walter one of the thirteen architects who founded the American Institute of Architects in 1857. According to Beverly Tetterton in Wilmington: Lost But Not Forgotten, Wilmington’s St. John’s Episcopal Church (1853-1855) was built for a congregation established in 1851 by the older St. James Episcopal Church. The new congregation commissioned a Gothic Revival design from the firm of Frank Willis and Henry Dudley of New York. Begun in 1853 and completed in 1855, St. John’s was located at the corner of Third and Red Cross Streets; it no longer stands.
Some years later, the older congregation of St. James commissioned Dudley to make improvements to their antebellum church of 1839-1840. One of the first fully realized Gothic Revival churches in the state, it was designed by architect Thomas U. Walter of Philadelphia and constructed under supervising architect John S. Norris of New York. It had a straightforward, rectangular nave plan. In 1871, in keeping with popular national trends, the parish installed in 1871 a handsome exposed truss roof designed by Dudley and in 1885, expanded the church with a chancel, south transept, organ chamber, and choir room. The Wilmington Daily Review of June 2, 1885, reported on the groundbreaking for the “work of enlarging and extending St. James’ Church” and noted that “workmen are now engaged in removing the rear wall of the church.” The congregation worshiped in St. John’s Episcopal Church during construction (Daily Review, July 11, 1885). St. James Church was reopened and dedicated on November 1, when the congregation gathered in the church yard and the bishop led a procession through the new spaces, via “transept door, thence to the chantrey, the Priest’s room, the font and the chancel” (Daily Review, November 2, 1885). Thus the church was equipped with new liturgical spaces as well as additional seating.
- Tony P. Wrenn, Wilmington, North Carolina: An Architectural and Historical Portrait (1984).
- Contributors:Christopher H. Dall, principal carpenter (1839-1840); Henry C. Dudley, architect (1871); John S. Norris, supervising architect (1839-1840); Thomas U. Walter, architect (1839-1840); Wood Brothers, brickmasons (1839-1840); John C. Wood, principal brickmason (1839-1840); Silas McBee, carvings for the main altar and reredos (1892)Dates:
1839-1840; 1871; 1885Location:Wilmington, New Hanover CountyStreet Address:
1 S. 3rd St., Wilmington, NCStatus:
ReligiousImages Published In:
Catherine W. Bishir, North Carolina Architecture (1990).
Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Eastern North Carolina (1996).
Frances Benjamin Johnston and Thomas Tileston Waterman, The Early Architecture of North Carolina (1941).
Tony P. Wrenn, Wilmington, North Carolina: An Architectural and Historical Portrait (1984).
1853-1855Location:Wilmington, New Hanover CountyStreet Address:
NE corner of 3rd St. and Red Cross St., Wilmington, NCStatus:
No longer standingType:
ReligiousImages Published In:
Beverly Tetterton, Wilmington: Lost But Not Forgotten (2005).Note:
The Gothic Revival church served into the 20th century, but with shifting demographics, the congregation decided in the 1950s to move to a suburban location, and the old church was razed.