St. Michael's Episcopal Church (Charleston, South Carolina)

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St. Michael's Church
St. Michael's Church
St. Michael's Episcopal Church (Charleston, South Carolina) is located in South Carolina
St. Michael's Episcopal Church (Charleston, South Carolina)
Location 80 Meeting St. (at Broad St.)
Charleston, South Carolina
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Built 1751-1761
Built by Samuel Cardy
Architect Unknown
Architectural style Georgian
Part of Charleston Historic District (#66000964)
NRHP Reference # 66000704
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966[1]
Designated NHL October 9, 1960[2]
Designated NHLDCP October 9, 1960

St. Michael's Church is an historic church and the oldest surviving religious structure in Charleston, South Carolina. It is located at Broad and Meeting streets on one of the Four Corners of Law, and represents ecclesiastical law. It was built in the 1750s by order of the South Carolina Assembly. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark.


St. Michael's Church was built between 1751 and 1761 at the corner of Broad and Meeting streets on the site of the original wooden church built in 1681 by St. Philip's Church, It had been damaged in a hurricane in 1710 and a new St. Philip's Church was built several blocks away on Church Street. In 1727, what was left of the old wooden church was demolished.[3][4]

It is not known who designed St. Michael's, but it shows the influence of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, designed in the 1720s by James Gibbs. Samuel Cardy was the builder. The walls are of brick that was stuccoed over and painted white. The two-story portico facing Broad Street was the first of its size in colonial America and features Tuscan columns.[5]

An organ by John Snetzler was fitted in 1768 but only the case remains; new organ 1994 by Kenneth Jones of Bray, Ireland.

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960,[2][6] and it was included in the first promulgation of the National Register in 1966.[1]

St. Michael's Churchyard, adjacent to the church is the resting place of some famous historical figures, including two signers of the Constitution of the United States.

Clock and bells

The church houses a clock and change ringing bells dating from colonial times,[3] The clock is the oldest tower clock in North America. The bells are one of four sets (Grace Episcopal, The Cathedral of Saint Luke and Saint Paul and Stella Maris Catholic church) in the Charleston area.

Views of St. Michael's
Alternate view 
Overview of St. Michael's graveyard in Charleston; among those interred here is the jurist John Rutledge
The Rector's Kitchen and View of St. Michael's, Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, c. 1910–1915 
The perspective in this full front view taken between 1886 and 1896 is no longer possible because of the construction of the post office across Meeting Street from the church. 

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Staff (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "St. Michael's Church". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-03-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "St. Michael's: An Historical Overview". St. Michael's Church. Retrieved March 9, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "A Brief History of St. Philip's Church, The Mother Church of The Diocese of South Carolina, Est. 1680". St. Philip's Church. Retrieved March 9, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. South Carolina Department of Archives and History listing for Saint Michael's Episcopal Church
  6. James Dillon (1978). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: St. Michael's Church" (pdf). National Park Service. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> and Accompanying two photos, exterior, from 1969 PDF (32 KB)

Further reading

External links