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St. James Baptist Church

In June the Virginia Department of Historic Resources determined that the St. James Baptist Church in Bealeton is eligible for the National

Register of Historic Places. This determination is a direct result of CFFC’s hiring of an architectural historian to document the church’s rich history as the oldest African American church congregation in Fauquier County, and its importance to a village once called Foxville, which is now Bealeton.

Between now and October, Dovetail Cultural Resource Group of Fredericksburg will develop in- depth documentation supporting the church’s final nomination to the National Register. If successful, St. James Baptist Church will be eligible for grants to preserve and improve the property.

The church was established by freedmen of former slave owner, John Fox. Its congregation first worshiped in a bush arbor on the current property, and then a nineteenth-century hand-hewn log building. This was followed by a 1907 frame building that burned down and finally, the current stucco building built-in 1922. There is also a circa-1922 Masonic Lodge (see picture on right) next to the church that was used for social events. The church’s cemetery is included in the National Registry application.

Both the church and the Masonic Lodge are significant because they reflect the architecture of the time and the cultural development of the small African American community of Foxville. Many descendants of the founding members of both buildings still live in the area.