City Directories and History: Edisto Island Baptist Church was built in 1818 through the efforts of one woman, Hepzibah Jenkins Townsend. The church is also architecturally significant because the 1818 church core with its tabby foundation and recessed panel slave gallery is still intact. In addition, it is significant in African American history because it has operated continuously as a black church since the trustees turned the church over to the faithful black
members after the Civil War. The original portion of the church was square in plan and supported by a tabby foundation. The two-story church is sheathed in beaded weatherboard and had a medium pitched gable roof whose ridge ran longitudinally, perpendicular to the façade. Pedimented gable ends graced the façade (southwest) and the rear elevation (northwest). The original façade, which was removed and re-erected as the façade of the ca. 1865 addition, which doubled its size, had three bays. Around 1880 a two-story pedimented portico was added to the façade. In the first quarter of the twentieth century two small, one-story, gable roofed restrooms sheathed in shiplap siding were added to the rear of the church. Adjacent to the church is a baptismal pool, also of tabby construction. The pool might date as early as the construction of the church, although this has not been documented. Listed in the National Register April 1, 1982. [Courtesy of the SC Dept. of Archives and History] Access information on numerous Charleston County and South Carolina churches, by clicking the highlighted S.C. Digital Library name.
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