Chester’s founding father, John Kennedy gives land….and more
City Directories and History: 1908 – Henry Jordan (Rev. lived at 189 Columbia Rd.), Joel S. Snyder (Rev. living at church), 1940 – 1958 – 1978
First Baptist Church of Chester, SC is one of the oldest in the city and has a rich history of providing religious
instruction and fellowship in the community. Started before the Civil War, and the original church building burned. A new brick structure was constructed in circa 1885, it was one of Chester’s outstanding architectural gems, one that attracted worshipers from a wide area. It was demolished in 1960 to make room for a larger building.
According to one source, the Baptist had the first church building in Chester. In 1836, Major John Kennedy (the minister’s father-in-law), gave the Baptists a lot which he said was to be used forever as a place of worship. In that same period a wooden church was constructed with a tall steeple, having a fish weather vain. A wooden baptismal pool was construct in Tanyard Branch behind the church which was described as “a beautiful clear stream.” In 1884, a cyclone struck Chester and the church was destroyed. [CRPC]
The Rev. L.C. Hinton, one of Chester’s wealthiest individuals, who pastored the Baptist Church of Chester lived on what is today Hinton Street in a handsome antebellum home. Prior to the Civil War he also ministered to an early African American congregation which became Gethsemane Baptist Church. For additional information see; 109 Hinton Street
Rock Hill architect, Alfred D. Gilchrist designed the Sunday school complex for the church in 1921. Alfred D. Gilchrist was born and educated in Manchester, England and came to America in 1900. In 1912 he arrived in Rock Hill and began practicing architecture. Several building can be attributed to him; Ebenezer School – 1921, Stevenson Theater, Oakland Avenue Pres. Church, and several buildings at Winthrop University. His son, William P. Gilchrist worked as a designer and draftsman with the firm. Following WWII, Gilchrist associated with W. Lewis Cook in the firm Gilchrist and Cook. That firm had buildings including: Woodland Un. Methodist Church, Park Baptist Church and homes and schools. Ms. Bessie L. Garrison, Rock Hill Historical Research Papers #10 – 1952.
Informative link: 1st Baptist Church
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