Landmark: Old Presbyterian Church
South Carolina Archives and History: Old Presbyterian Church) Lancaster Presbyterian Church has played an integral part in this community’s history since the mid-1800s. Completed ca. 1862, the present church is thought to have been the first brick church in Lancaster County. The walls are of handmade brick. Basilican in plan, the church features a gallery along the sides and back of the sanctuary and culminates in an arched pulpit apse. The walls are stuccoed and scored to resemble stone. Interesting details include hood moldings over the arches, cornice brackets with pendants under the gallery, and round wooden columns supporting the gallery. The Lancasterville Presbyterian Church was organized in 1835, and in 1860 the congregation decided to erect a new church (the present structure) on the site of the original one. The contract was given to Sidney Retting of Charlotte, North Carolina, and the church was completed by January 1862. Designed in the Early Gothic Revival style, the church was dedicated on March 29, 1862. A cemetery dating from the 1830s is located to the left and rear of the church, and many of its graves are of Lancaster’s leading citizens. In 1926, the congregation moved to a new church on Main Street in Lancaster. The old structure was then used by another church and later by the Masons. In 1962 it was purchased by Dr. Benjamin F. Emanuel under whose direction it became the Carolina Museum. Unoccupied since 1972, the church was purchased in 1976 by the Lancaster County Society for Historical Preservation, Inc. Listed in the National Register December 16, 1977.
bill fitzpatrick writer and photographer