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

Old Bethel United Methodist Church

 
 
Old Bethel United Methodist Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, August 14, 2011
1. Old Bethel United Methodist Church Marker
Upper Medallion reads: Carolopolis
Condita A.D.
1670
Awarded 1984
Preservation Society of Charleston
The Carolopolis Award is a plaque placed on buildings that have been preserved, restored, rehabilitated or are outstanding examples of new construction. The award is presented to those individuals, businesses or organizations that currently own the property. The Carolopolis Award is a slightly modified reproduction of the seal of the City of Charleston. The word Carolopolis comes from the original name of the city.
Inscription. Old Bethel United Methodist Church, the third oldest church building surviving in Charleston, had its beginnings on February 14, 1797 as Bethel Methodist Episcopal Church. Bethel was constructed in the gabled meeting house style with white clapboards after a design by Francis Asbury, the first Methodist bishop in the United States and was dedicated in 1798. The church was built forty feet by sixty feet and was named Bethel, the Hebrew word for the "house of God." It stood at the corner of Pitt and Calhoun Streets. The building was dedicated in 1798 and was completed in 1809. Later a pulpit was erected and a sounding board acquired from Scots Presbyterian Church was hung over the pulpit. The simple wooden building included galleries for the slaves, pews at the back of the first floor for seating free black members and white members sat in the front on the first floor. In 1851 the church became the primary place of worship for black members. On August 27, 1876 the building was officially given to the black members and became Old Bethel. Land was purchased across the street on Calhoun Street and the building was moved in 1882 to its present site. The original addition of a gabled portico supported by four fluted Corinthian Columns documents changing styles in ecclesiastical architecture. The pressed metal ceiling and Victorian era furnishing
Old Bethel United Methodist Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, August 14, 2011
2. Old Bethel United Methodist Church Marker
date to the end of the 19th century. The church currently serves a black congregation, which includes descendants of the 1880 congregation.

Erected by:
MoJA Arts Festival
City of Charleston
October 3, 2007

 
Location. 32° 47.057′ N, 79° 56.517′ W. Marker is in Charleston, South Carolina, in Charleston County. Marker is on Calhoun Street near Pitt Street, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 222 Calhoun Street, Charleston SC 29401, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Old Bethel Methodist Church (here, next to this marker); Bethel Methodist Church (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Benjamin Lucas House (approx. 0.2 miles away); 66 Bull Street The John Cart House (approx. 0.2 miles away); William Blacklock House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Cameron House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Kornahrens-Guenveur House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Nine College Way (approx. mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Charleston.
 
Regarding Old Bethel United Methodist Church. National Register of Historic Places:
Old Bethel United Methodist Church *** (added 1975 - - #75001693)
Also known as Bethel Methodist Church
222
Old Bethel United Methodist Church image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, August 14, 2011
3. Old Bethel United Methodist Church
Original Bethel M.E. Church
Erected 1797
Moved To Present Location
1880
Calhoun St. , Charleston
♦ Historic Significance:Architecture/Engineering, Event
♦ Area of Significance: Black, Architecture, Religion
♦ Period of Significance: 1800-1824, 1750-1799

Begun in 1797 and completed in 1809, Old Bethel Methodist Church is the oldest Methodist church building still standing in Charleston. Construction of the original meeting house style church was planned by Francis Asbury, the first Bishop of American Methodism, in the 18th century. The founding of Old Bethel Church by both black and white members was indicative of the Methodist Church philosophy of encouraging black membership in the church. Originally located at the corner of Pitt and Calhoun Streets, the church served a congregation of blacks and whites until the 1840s when the blacks seceded. In 1852 the church was moved to the western part of the church grounds where it was used by the blacks. A new brick church, Bethel Methodist, constructed on the original site, served an all-white congregation. Old Bethel was again moved in 1880 when the building was given to the black congregation and was rolled across Calhoun Street to its present site. Originally a gabled meetinghouse style church, the white clapboard building has been altered by the addition to the facade of a gabled portico supported by four fluted Corinthian columns. A central double door is flanked
Old Bethel United Methodist Church Marker, seen at right image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, August 14, 2011
4. Old Bethel United Methodist Church Marker, seen at right
by single doors on either side, and these entrances are surmounted by segmented transoms. Within the front gable is a semi-circular louver. Brick foundations of American bond date from 1880. Listed in the National Register April 21, 1975.
(South Carolina Department of Archives and History)
 
Categories. African AmericansChurches, Etc.
 
Old Bethel United Methodist Church , receives its State Historical marker (left ) in 2011 image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, November 10, 2011
5. Old Bethel United Methodist Church , receives its State Historical marker (left ) in 2011
* See nearby markers
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 411 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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