preservation I culture I adaptive reuse
2nd & Clay (the former St. James Methodist Church building) is Waco's only historic religious structure on the National Register of Historic Places, and it is McLennan County's only site directly related to Black history on the National Register.
In 1874, St. James was founded as a Methodist Episcopal church on the banks of the Brazos River by pastor Anderson Brack, a former slave. St. James grew to 532 members while becoming one of the area's most prominent Black churches, and the congregation spent a half-century in tabernacles and buildings in downtown Waco.
Through a controversial eminent domain claim, the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad seized the church's land in 1922. The congregation moved a block away to the current location on the corner of 2nd Street and Clay Avenue, where the current building was constructed under Pastor C.S. Williams in 1924.
Notable architect Carleton Adams designed the Tudor Gothic-style structure. St. James received a Recorded Texas Historical Marker in 1986 and a City of Waco Historic Landmark designation in 2017. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on Sept. 12, 2019.
With a desire to focus more on ministry and less on building upkeep, St. James Methodist placed their building on the market in 2015. The congregation now meets at 3311 Park Lake Drive and continues serving the community and worshiping together, as they have done faithfully for 147 years.
We welcome your inquiries here or via 2ndandClay@gmail.com.