“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Columbia in Richland County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)

Bethel A.M.E. Church

Bethel A.M.E. Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, 2010
1. Bethel A.M.E. Church Marker
Inscription. (Front text)
This church, founded in 1866, was one of the first separate African-American congregations established in Columbia after the Civil War. It met in buildings on Wayne St., at Lincoln & Hampton Sts., and at Sumter & Hampton Sts. before acquiring this site. This sanctuary, a Romanesque Revival design, was built in 1921 and was designed by noted black architect John Anderson Lankford (1874-1946).
(Reverse text)
John Anderson Lankford, one of the first registered black architects in the U.S., was later supervising architect of the A.M.E. Church. Bethel was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. In 1995 its congregation moved to the former Shandon Baptist Church on Woodrow St. In 2008 the Renaissance Foundation began restoring the historic church as a cultural arts center.
Erected 2008 by The Historic Columbia Foundation, the City of Columbia, and the S.C. Department of Transportation. (Marker Number 40-150.)
Location. 34° 0.413′ N, 81° 2.046′ W. Marker is in Columbia, South Carolina, in Richland County. Marker is on North Sumter Street near Taylor Street, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Columbia SC 29201, United States of America.
Other nearby markers.
Bethel A.M.E. Church Marker, reverse side image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, February 21, 2010
2. Bethel A.M.E. Church Marker, reverse side
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Site of Gibbes House (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); First Baptist Church (about 500 feet away); Taylor Street (about 500 feet away); Ordinance of Secession (about 500 feet away); Blanding Street (about 700 feet away); Site of Blanding House (about 800 feet away); Ladson Presbyterian Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); Washington Street Methodist Church (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Columbia.
Regarding Bethel A.M.E. Church. Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church is significant as the work of John Anderson Lankford, one of the first registered African American architects in the United States, and official architect for the A.M.E. Church. Lankford received training in engineering, mechanics and construction arts at Lincoln Institute, and after graduation became part owner of a blacksmith shop. His work caught the attention of Booker T. Washington, who invited him to Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Following a distinguished academic career, Lankford taught for a time at Tuskegee. Lankford went on to teach at other technical institutes in Alabama and in North Carolina, where he designed his first building, a machine shop for the Coleman Cotton Mills in Concord, North Carolina. By 1901 Lankford had acquired a respected reputation for
Bethel A.M.E. Church and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, February 21, 2010
3. Bethel A.M.E. Church and Marker
As seen along North Sumter Street
National Register of Historical Places: Bethel A.M.E. Church (added 1982 - Building - #82003899)
buildings in several states. The church is a monumental Romanesque Revival brick church building built in 1921. The church has a rectangular plan with a gable roof and two towers on its fašade. The north tower is three stages above the basement, while the south is two stages. The north tower has a tripartite stained glass window beneath a semicircular arch at its first stage; three windows of stepped height, corresponding to an interior staircase, at its second stage; and an open belfry with a tripartite arcade on the third level. Each tower terminates in a brick parapet, resting upon corbelled brickwork, with tall pyramidal roofs crowning the whole. The center of the fašade has a large round-arched window with three arched windows and two roundels beneath an encompassing semicircular arch, and a tripartite louvered vent beneath the gable end. Listed in the National Register May 24, 1982.
(Historic Resources of Columbia)

National Register of Historic Places:
Bethel A.M.E. Church (added 1982 - - #82003899)
♦ Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering
♦ Architect, builder, or engineer: Lankford,John Anderson
♦ Architectural Style: Romanesque
♦ Area of Significance: Architecture
♦ Period of Significance: 1900-1924
♦ Owner: Private
♦ Historic Function: Religion
♦ Historic Sub-function: Religious Structure
♦ Current Function: Religion
♦ Current Sub-function: Religious Structure
Categories. African AmericansChurches, Etc.Notable BuildingsNotable Persons
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 658 times since then and 68 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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