St. Philip’s Episcopal Church – Dalzell, South Carolina
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The community of Dalzell occupies fewer than six miles of Lee County. Yet when St. Philip’s Episcopal Church was founded in 1840, the area was an active summer district for residents of the Lowcountry who wanted to escape heat, humidity, and potential malaria.
St. Philip’s was formed in the colony known as Bradford Springs in the upper portion of the High Hills of Santee. The land on which the springs flowed were granted to Nathaniel Bradford in 1785. Over time, the springs became a popular tourist spot, and bathing houses were established as early as 1817 so visitors could enjoy the springs’ alleged healing properties.
By 1840 the community was large enough to establish an Episcopal church and St. Philip’s was organized. The building was completed in 1841 – adjacent to the springs – and in 1846 the church received its first permanent rector, Reverend Charles Pinckney Elliott. Sadly, Reverend Elliott suffered a fatal accident five years later when a tree limb fell on him during a tornado. The marble obelisk in front of the church was erected by his congregation in his memory. He is buried in the church’s cemetery.
After the Civil War people stopped traveling to Bradford Springs, and the once-thriving summer colony could no longer be sustained by its few permanent residents. Today the area is another post-war rural community in South Carolina.
St. Phillip’s is no longer in use but is listed in the National Register, which adds the following architectural details about the church:
St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, built in 1840, is significant as an excellent example of vernacular Gothic Revival church architecture and for its association with the popular antebellum and postwar summer colony of Bradford Springs. The church is a tangible link to the once-bustling, mid-nineteenth century community of Bradford Springs, located in the “High Hills of the Santee.” This area was a summer resort for planters and their families seeking refuge from the heat and malaria of the lowcountry and the midlands. Such families as the Sumters, Gaillards, Porchers, Stoneys, Frasers, Colcloughs, Capers, and Tates often spent from April to November there.
The meeting house-form church is a one-and-one-half story Gothic Revival building with a gable front and clad in weatherboard. It rests on piers of native stone and clay mortar (those on the perimeter are covered in stucco). The double front door and the 9/9 sash windows throughout the building are capped by pointed arches. The rear elevation has a gable end addition used for robing. The interior is as simple in design as its exterior. The church is entered through a small narthex which has stairs leading to the small balcony. The sanctuary has a simple dado and a plain painted plaster field. The cemetery adjoining the church dates to the founding of the congregation and is surrounded by a picket fence.
St. Philip’s Episcopal Church Info
Address: 1108 St. Philip's Road, SC 29040
St. Philip’s Episcopal Church Map
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