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Walking Tour of Rock Hill, South Carolina
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With its soaring five-story tower, First Presbyterian Church has been an important landmark in Rock Hill since its construction in 1894. It is home to a congregation founded in 1854 that has contributed significantly to the religious and cultural development of the city. South Carolina architect Charles Coker Wilson designed the church in the Late Victorian style. The sanctuary is circular in shape with eight gables and a cupola on top; the tower features sets of three windows, an open fifth level, and a pyramidal roof; arched and rose windows; and decorative finials. The attached education building was constructed in 1999. First Presbyterian was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

First Presbyterian Church was built in 1894 and is home to a congregation established in 1854.

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First Presbyterian was established in 1854 as a mission of its "mother church," Ebenezer Presbyterian, and called Antioch Chapel. In 1858, the congregation bought the property on which the current church now stands to be closer to the growing town. The chapel building was moved here (on log rollers) at that time. In 1869, the congregation received its official charter and changed its name to First Presbyterian Church. It erected a new brick church building in 1875.

As the congregation grew in the coming years, it became increasingly clear that a new building was needed. As a result, the present building was completed in 1895. In 1905 the church was the first in the city to install a pipe organ (the current one was installed in 1961). The first educational building was erected in 1923 but later torn down to make way for the new one, which is called the Joe Hopkins Ministry Center.

The congregation became the largest Presbyterian church in the South Carolina by 1907 and its influence was felt throughout the city and state. It established the first secondary school in Rock Hill, established mission and chapels in mill villages, and founded a daughter church that is now called Oakland Avenue Presbyterian Church. The church also opened a dispensary in South Korea in 1891 that treated women and children. It grew to become The Presbyterian Medical Center in Jeonju, South Korea.

Gettys, Paul M. "First Presbyterian Church." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. June 10, 1992.

"Our History." First Presbyterian Church. Accessed May 6, 2021.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Bill Fitzpatrick, via Wikimedia Commons: