Historic Charleston Foundation logo

images banner
images banner small

Archive Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Title 61-63 Church Street (First Baptist Church)
Object Type Property File
Scope & Content Constructed 1819-22; restored 1990. Robert Mills, architect. Site of the original "Anabaptist" Meeting House, the lot had been given by the prominent Elliott family in 1699 to provide a place of worship for a fledgling congregation begun by immigrants from Kittery, Maine, some 15 years earlier. The earlier wooden structure held the pulpit of the fiery Reverend Richard Furman, a revolutionary patriot and co-author of South Carolina's move to disestablish the Anglican Church. The British occupying commander used this building for storage of provisions from 1780 to 1782. The Charleston-born architect Robert Mills designed the present edifice (the third on the site) by 1819, when the cornerstone was laid. Mills worked extensively in his native city at this juncture, following his studies with Thomas Jefferson and then Benjamin Latrobe, and successful commissions in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Richmond. This was, however, prior to his important work in Washington planning the Treasury and Patent Buildings and the Washington Monument. Like the numerous courthouses he designed throughout South Carolina, he considered the new First Baptist Church with its temple form plan to be "purely Greek in its style," calling it the "best specimen of correct taste in architecture of all the modern buildings in this city." Actually a Roman Doric or Tuscan colonnade supports the front pedimented portico. The simple parapet was originally designed with a laurel wreath frieze and surmounted by a roof lantern, but neither of these features survives. On the interior a double colonnade supports the galleries on 3 sides with both Ionic and Doric orders. A portion of the original graveyard was removed in the 1950s for the construction of the educational building. Important stones, however, line the south walkway including that of Dr. Furman and the Abigail Barker stone carved in Newport, Rhode Island.

File contains Church brochures/pamphlets, which include the history of the church; other narrative histories including from Architectural Guide to Charleston; newspaper article (1968DYKYC); historical/chain-of-title research notes; first floor plan (HABS); cemetery indexes; documents related to the church's expansion/addition including HCF's involvement, neighborhood opposition, and case law Stevenson vs. Board of Adjustment.
Subjects First Baptist Church (Charleston, S.C.)
Historic buildings--South Carolina--Charleston
Church architecture
Church buildings
Search Terms Church Street
Churches/Synagogues/Houses of Worship
Walled City
Physical Description 1 File Folder
Related Records Show Related Records...
Object ID # CHURCH.061-63.1