St. Philip’s Church – Charleston, South Carolina

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Established in 1680, St. Philip’s Church is home to the oldest congregation in South Carolina. The current church, located at 146 Church St in Charleston‘s French Quarter, was completed in 1838 and is the third to serve its congregation.

St. Philip's Charleston

Elvis Vaughn of Greer © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The first church was a modest, wooden building constructed in 1681 on the present-day site of St. Michael’s. With the congregation growing, a larger brick church was authorized on the current site in 1710.

St Philips Church

John Birkenheuer of Charleston, 2009 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

It wasn’t completed until 1723 due to Indian wars and damage from hurricanes. This church would house the congregation for over a century, until it was destroyed by a fire in 1835. Work on the present church began later that same year.


E. Karl Braun of North Charleston, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

After the fire, the congregation moved into its temporary home in the Tabernacle at Cumberland Street Methodist Episcopal Church. It remained there until 1838, when its new church was finished. The steeple, designed by noted architect Edward Brickell White, wasn’t completed until over a decade later, in 1850.

St. Philip's Church Street

Linda Brown of Kingstree, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Several notable South Carolinians, including governors Charles Pinckney and Edward Rutledge, are buried in the St. Philip’s cemetery. designated a National Historic Landmark.

St. Philip’s, a National Historic Landmark, is also listed in the National Register, which says the following:

The present church building is the third structure to house the oldest congregation in South Carolina (established 1681). The building, without the steeple, was designed by Joseph Hyde and constructed by 1836. The spire was designed by Edward Brickell White and constructed between 1848 and 1850. The church is stuccoed brick with a single tier of windows on either side. There are three Tuscan porticos. The interior has a high vestibule, is in the style of an auditorium with high Corinthian arcades, a plaster barrel vault, galleries and an apsidal chancel. There are notable wrought-iron gates to the front of the building. The chancel and apse were altered, after a fire in 1920, by Albert Simons, architect. The spire is set upon a square stuccoed brick base with oculi; the steeple is octagonal with pilasters and oculi; the octagonal spire is capped with a weather vane. The imposing tower, perhaps massive for the portico beneath, is appropriately in the Wren-Gibbs tradition.

St. Philip’s Church Info

Address: 142 Church Street, Charleston, SC 29401

St. Philip’s Church Map

St. Philip’s Church – Add Info and More Photos

The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of St. Philip’s Church, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!

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One Comment about St. Philip’s Church

Coker's Crossing HOA says:
April 4th, 2015 at 2:37 pm

One of the many reasons Charleston, South Carolina is referred to as the Holy City. This church is beautiful inside and out. I encourage you to see this beautiful church on one of your trips into town. It's history alone makes it worth the visit.

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