Our History: The first Catholics settled in the James and Pipestem river valley as early as 1872 but a church for the congregation was not formed until the later 1870's. Mass was celebrated by missionary priests who made trips through the area. Services were celebrated in a railroad box car, in the courthouse, a one-room school and in Klaus Hall. On May 13, 1883, the first church in Jamestown was dedicated by Bishop Martin Marty, O.S.B. A campaign was soon underway to make the church in Jamestown a Cathedral. Local boosters campaigned heavily and their wishes came true on September 23, 1889 by order of Cardinal Simeoni, Prefect of the congregation of the Propaganda in Rome. On November 12, 1889, the papal bulls confirming the appointment and fixing the See at Jamestown were drafted. On December 27, 1889, John Shanley was consecrated the first bishop of Jamestown in St. Paul Cathedral. Bishop Shanley did not remain long in Jamestown, however, moving the see to Fargo in 1891. The present church building was consecrated by Bishop O'Reilly of Fargo on November 29, 1914, during the pastorate of Father Edward Geraghty. It is a grand structure, some detractors thinking it a bit too grand for Jamestown. The American gothic-style church is 140 feet long and 50 feet wide (70 feet wide at the trancepts. It is 42 feet high and can seat 650 people and another 100 in the choir loft. The foundation was made of trimmed granite, rock faced, and the superstructure is of pressed Hebron brick and Bedford stone trimmings. The windows were plain glass at first but soon were replaced with stained glass. The windows were bought with a $5,000 gift from Pierce Blewett, a booster, developer, and mayor of Jamestown. St. James was elevated as a Minor Basilica July 23, 1989 by Most Reverend James S. Sullivan, Bishop of Fargo. The Apostolic Brief, which raised the Church of St. James to the status of a Minor Basilica is located at the southwest entrance of the building.