“A magnificent piece of American landmark architecture – outstanding historic character.”
146 Church Street
City Directories and History: ST. PHILIP’S CHURCH
Original church 1722-1723; present building constructed 1833- 1838; additions and chancel renovated 1920; restored 1993-94
“On February 16, 1835, the Mercury newspaper commented on the burning of . .. Unsurpassed in architectural beauty by any edifice in the union. …” The sentiment was made manifest in the timely re-construction that re-created many aspects of the 1711-23 structure, most notably the triple Tuscan portico. The earlier design responded little to the provincial influences of southern colonial ecclesiastical construction and aggressively reflected the influences of English Baroque church design of the late-seventeenth and early-eighteenth centuries. Replacing a 1682 cypress struc-ture at Meeting and Broad Streets, this building served the principal parish of the official church of the colony. In 1753 the Gentleman’s Magazine in London published an elevation of the building’s west facade. Surviving early-nineteenth-century interior views correspond to a description of the interior with its “lofty arches” and massive pillars adorned with elegant sepulchral monuments.
Although it is commonly asserted that the local architect Joseph Hyde was involved in the redesign and reconstruction of the building in 1835, the participation of additional architects is likely. Edward Brickell White, the architect of the French Huguenot Church, designed the later (1848-50) steeple of St. Philip’s.
The 1835 building underwent significant changes to the east end in the 1920s under the direction of local architect Albert Simons. Changes included the extension of the east end one full bay to include a choir. The Boston architect Ralph Adams Cram was consulted for this project. His contributions included the Decalogue and the Lord’s Prayer tablets and possibly the splendid “All Saints” window by Clement Heaton. The churchyard contains many early English carved markers and box tombs, as does the burial ground across the street. John C. Calhoun’s splendid Roman sarcophagus style monument dominates this part of the graveyard.”
Information from: The Buildings of Charleston – J.H. Poston for the Historic Charleston Foundation, 1997
Other sources of interest: Charleston Tax Payers of Charleston, SC in 1860-61 and the Dwelling Houses of Charleston by Alice R.H. Smith – 1917 The HCF may also have additional data at: Past Perfect and further research can be uncovered at: Charleston 1861 Census Schedule
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IMAGE GALLERY via photographer Bill Segars – 2005