201 East White Street
City Directories and History: This church began as a mission work in the summer of 1895 when Arthur Small Rogers, a seminary student at Erskine Theological Seminary, was sent to Rock Hill to hold services. The rural areas around Rock Hill had a number of Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Churches dating back to the 1700s, but two previous efforts to organize the church’s members in Rock Hill had been unsuccessful. Rogers arrived on July 4 and began holding services in Armory Hall on Main Street. From the beginning the new work was a success. Arthur Rogers returned to the Seminary in the fall to complete his education, and area ARP ministers preached during the winter of 1895-96. The congregation was organized on November 19, 1895 with 26 charter members. Arthur Rogers returned following his graduation from the Seminary and was installed as minister. He immediately began raising funds for a church building, both locally and throughout the ARP denomination. In 1896, a lot was purchased on White Street from Mrs. Ann White and A. H. White. The site, now on the corner of East White Street and Oakland Avenue, had been part of the White family’s apple orchard. The architect selected for the building was C. C. Hook of Charlotte. Construction on the sanctuary was begun in 1897 and completed in the spring of 1898. The brick sanctuary building features a dominant bell tower at left front with a smaller tower at right front and a polygonal projecting wing in the center. The left tower has a spire with finial, rounded arch openings, and tall paired traceried windows with granite lintels and sills. There are matching rose windows in the front-facing gable and the side gables. [Written and contributed by Paul M. Gettys, 2012]
The 1898 sanctuary continues to serve the congregation today. There was an addition to the rear in 1911, [The SC Architects: 1885-1935 Wells & Dalton, 1992 attributed this addition to Julian S. Starr, at a cost of $6,000.] which enlarged the auditorium, added space for a pipe organ and small classrooms, and changed the ceiling design. In 1929, a three-story educational building was added to the east. This building was enlarged in 1964. In the early 1990s, a gym was added and an adjacent furniture store was acquired and renovated to become a new activities and education building.
Rev. Arthur S. Rogers was pastor of the church from the first meeting in 1895 until his retirement in 1948. Subsequent senior ministers have been Rev. William Pressly Grier, Jr., Rev. Henry Lewis Smith, Dr. Robert J. Robinson, and Dr. J. Barry Dagenhart. [Contributed and written by Paul Gettys]
The Herald reported on Aug 13, 1897 – “That the new ARP Church is estimated to cost $8,000.”
The Herald reported on Dec. 14, 1901 – “On next Wednesday evening, the Rev. A.S. Rogers will be installed as pastor of the ARP church of this city.”
The Herald reported on January 3, 1930, “The handsome new Sunday School building of the ARP Church on the corner of White Street and Oakland Avenue will be occupied for the first time Sunday morning, having just been completed by contractor Gary Martin of Clinton and accepted by the church. The edifice was begun this past summer and cost approximately $30,000. A. D. Gilchrist of Rock Hill was the architect.”
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.
Click HOME to return to the numbered site tour of Rock Hill’s downtown.
Explore history, houses, and stories across S.C. Your membership provides you with updates on regional topics, information on historic research, preservation, and monthly feature articles. But remember R&R wants to hear from you and assist in preserving your own family genealogy and memorabilia.
Visit the Southern Queries – Forum to receive assistance in answering questions, discuss genealogy, and enjoy exploring preservation topics with other members. Also listed are several history and genealogical researchers for hire.
User comments welcome — post at the bottom of this page.
Please enjoy this structure and all those listed in Roots and Recall. But remember each is private property. So view them from a distance or from a public area such as the sidewalk or public road.
Do you have information to share and preserve? Family, school, church, or other older photos and stories are welcome. Send them digitally through the “Share Your Story” link, so they too might be posted on Roots and Recall.
User comments always welcome - please post at the bottom of this page.