|South Carolina Department of Archives and History|
|National Register Properties in South Carolina
Bethesda Presbyterian Church, York County (S.C. Hwy. 322, McConnells vicinity)
|Facade||Left Elevation|| Right Rear
|Right Elevation||Right Oblique|
One of the oldest churches in the South Carolina Upcountry, Bethesda Presbyterian Church is also one of the four original Presbyterian churches in the state’s old York District. A mission (church) is believed to have existed as early as 1760 and Bethesda was formally organized about 1769 or 1770. From 1800 to 1863, the congregation held large camp meetings associated with the Second Great Awakening. Bethesda’s present structure, built in 1820, is the third building associated with the church. Bethesda represents the typical rural brick church in an expanded meetinghouse form. The interior reveals a double-aisle configuration with side aisles under the gallery. Although Victorian motifs have been added both to the interior and exterior, the basic architectural integrity of the church has been retained. The gallery is supported by square columns of ca. 1882 vintage on the first level and original octagonal columns on the second level. The narthex wall dates from 1917 but the original gallery stairs are intact. Other 1882 alterations include the semicircular-arched pulpit niche, the pews with scroll motifs and the widened windows with 2/2 sash. The pulpit furniture and lighting fixtures also date from 1882. Also significant in its own right is Bethesda’s cemetery. Among those buried there are veterans of the American Revolution, Mexican War, Civil War, and both World Wars. Listed in the National Register August 16, 1977.
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