Christ Church (Greenville, South Carolina)

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Christ Church (Episcopal) and Churchyard
Christ Episcopal Church, North Church Street, Greenville (Greenville County, South Carolina).jpg
Christ Church Episcopal in 1934
Basic information
Location 10 N. Church St., Greenville, South Carolina
Geographic coordinates 34°51′3″N 82°23′40″W / 34.85083°N 82.39444°W / 34.85083; -82.39444Coordinates: 34°51′3″N 82°23′40″W / 34.85083°N 82.39444°W / 34.85083; -82.39444
Affiliation Episcopal Church in the United States of America
District Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina
State South Carolina
Year consecrated 1854
Status active
Leadership Harrison McLeod, Rector
Architectural description
Architect(s) McCullough, Rev. John Dewitt
Architectural type Church
Architectural style Gothic Revival
Groundbreaking 1852
Completed 1854 (current church building)
Length 109 ft (33 m)[1]
Width 96 ft (29 m)
Width (nave) 39 ft (12 m)
Height (max) 65 ft (20 m)
Spire(s) 1
Spire height 104.67 ft (31.9 m)
Materials Brick with stone and stucco trim
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Added to NRHP May 06, 1971
NRHP Reference no.



Christ Church (Episcopal) is an Episcopal church in Greenville, South Carolina, United States. which was consecrated in 1854. The church and its courtyard are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Christ Church (Episcopal) and Churchyard.[2] It is the oldest organized religious body and the oldest church building remaining in Greenville.[3][4]


In March, 1820, Reverend Rodolphus Dickerson founded St. James Mission in the village of Greenville Court House. In 1825, Vardry McBee, who was an early industrialist in Greenville, gave 4 acres (1.6 ha) for the church. The cornerstone was laid on September 15, 1825. The brick church was 55 ft (17 m) long and 30 ft (9 m) wide. The first service was held on June 18, 1826. The church was accepted into the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina as Christ Church Parish.[3][5][6][7]

In 1845, the parish proposed the building of a new church. Joel Poinsett, who was a vestryman of the church, drew up plans. Since these were felt to too elaborate and unaffordable, construction was delayed and Poinsett died.[5][6] Rev. John D. McCollough, who had designed and built over a dozen churches in upstate South Carolina, drew the final plans and built the church. The cornerstone was laid on May 29, 1852. It contained religious books, church and diocesan publications in a sealed copper box.

The nave of the brick Gothic church was originally 80 ft (24 m) long and 39 ft (12 m) wide. There were five lancet windows on each side.[5] The west end had five narrow stained glass windows, which has been described as a "pentaphlet," and an art glass circular window depicting the Holy Trinity.[1][3][5] The chancel had a triplet window in the chancel depicting Christ, St. John, and St. Peter.[5] The peaked ceiling was 65 ft (20 m) tall. Although several sources,[3][5] quoting an 1856 article in the Southern Episcopalian, say that the brick bell tower is 130 ft (40 m) tall, the 1934 architectural drawings indicate that is 104.67 ft (31.9 m) tall from the top of the foundation to the base of its cross.[1] The church was consecrated on September 29, 1854.[4][5][8]

A balcony was added in 1875. The south transept was constructed in 1880.[5][8] In 1914, the triplex window in the chancel was replaced with a stained glass window of the Last Supper from Franz Mayer & Co. in Munich This window was dedicated to Ellison Capers, who was a Confederate general, rector in 1866 to 1888, and Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina.[3][4][5][8] In 1968, the north transept was built to complete the Gothic cruciform design, and an undercroft was added.[5][6][8] In 2000, the balcony was enlarged and a 68-rank Goulding and Wood organ was installed.[8]

The Historic American Buildings Survey documented the church with photographs and measured drawings in 1934.[1][9] The drawings include a site plan and drawings of various details of the church.

Christ Church is now in the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina. It sponsors Christ Church Episcopal School in Greenville.


The churchyard has a cemetery. In addition to Vardry McBee, clergy, church members, and former mayors, three politicians are interred: the post-Civil War provisional Governor Benjamin Franklin Perry, his son, U.S. Congressman William H. Perry, and U.S. Senator Joseph H. Earle.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d "Christ Episcopal Church (measured drawings)". Historic American Buildings Survey. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. March 1934. Retrieved 21 February 2009. 
  2. ^ a b National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Christ Church (Episcopal) and Churchyard, Greenville County (10 N. Church St., Greenville)". National Register Properties in South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Retrieved 8 February 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c "Christ Church (Episcopal) and Churchyard (burial ground)" (pdf). National Register of Historical Places Inventory Form. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. 14 February 1971. Retrieved 8 February 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Wood, Robert C. (1976). Parish in the Heart of the City: Christ Church, Greenville, S.C. Greenville, South Carolina: Keys Printing. 
  6. ^ a b c Ebaugh, Laura Smith (1970). Bridging the Gap. Greenville, South Carolina: Greenville County Events - S. C. Tricentennial. 
  7. ^ Smith, Roy McBee (1997). Vardry McBee, 1775-1864 : man of reason in an age of extremes. Spartanburg, South Carolina: Laurel Heritage Press. ISBN 0-9659107-0-9. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "History". Christ Church Episcopal. Retrieved 8 February 2009. 
  9. ^ "Christ Episcopal Church (photographs)". Historic American Buildings Survey. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. March 1934. Retrieved 21 February 2009. 
  10. ^ "Cemeteries and Memorial Sites of Politicians in Greenville County". Political Graveyard. Retrieved 8 February 2009. 

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