The first brownstone cathedral in Charleston was built in 1854 and named the Cathedral of Saint John and Saint Finbar. It burned in a great fire in December 1861. The rebuilt cathedral was named for St. John the Baptist and was constructed on the foundations of the earlier structure. Architect Patrick Keely designed both the original cathedral and its replacement.
Within the town limits of Charleston there are hundreds of Churches and Cathedrals. Starting in the early 1700’s the city was one of the first stops for any people escaping religious persecution.
When walking around town we always look to see which church has an open door for visitors. We have actually been photographing churches longer than wildlife.
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Charleston, South Carolina
This photograph includes many of my favorite subjects, and photo style. While I have a pretty large collection of unpublished images like this for some reason they have remained in my hard drives archives.
This particular photo was taken in the old graveyard of the First Scots Presbyterian church facing the old manor house of Nathaniel Russell. See, got a bunch of things in one view. 😁
The church and graveyard date back to 1731. Of course like everything here fire, war, and earthquakes brought many builds and fixes.
Nathaniel Russell built this house in 1808. It is considered a National Landmark and an architectural gem. He was incredibly wealthy (like many Charleston businessmen of the era). Unfortunately his money was made in the slave trade. The dark side of Charleston is it’s long history of slavery.
Both sites can be seen on Meeting Street in the old town section.
One of the best ways to see Charleston and all of it’s history is to pick a street and take a walk. The town is on a peninsula and not all that big. You can’t get lost.
Important note though, be sure to have a camera. There’s ‘stuff’ everywhere. This day I picked Meeting Street one of the central streets.
The photographs were taken at the corner of Meeting and Tradd streets. I looked right, shot, looked left, shot.
Above is the house on my right, the Bradford-Horry house. Built in 1751 it has been added to the National Historic Registry for the homes unique architecture. The house has a piazza over a public street.
Next, a church was on the left side of the street. The First (Scots) Presbyterian Church. The Second Presbyterian Church is on the far side of town. Twelve Scottish residents left the Circular Church in 1731 to form this one. The two bell towers lost their bells during the US Civil War. When new bells were available the southern tower was found to be damaged from the 1886 earthquake. Only the north tower has bells now.
I had no intention of creating this long article when I started LOL. This is what happens when you take a camera for a walk around town. Oh yeah, the ‘Brown Dog Deli’ is just down the street. They have real Italian Hero sandwiches. Not something you find in the south and another good reason to pick the Meeting Street walk.
On a walk around town last week the blue sky was amazing. Personally I’m not big on just cloud images, I prefer foreground / background subjects included. Depth, composition, etc. makes for more interesting photos.
Charleston is called the Holy City because of the large number of churches here, which means a lot of spires. I took shots with clouds, and spires to provide a foreground.
Above, First (Scots) Presbyterian Church. Two weeks ago I published photographs of Second Presbyterian also.
Next is the Huguenot Church, one of my favorites.
Last is the iconic St. Philips Church, the tallest spire and the most known in the skyline.
A few points of interest in Charleston, South Carolina.
The church is one of the oldest in Charleston. Like several others in town the congregation was formed when the original church could no longer support the growth. The First (Scotts) church is close to the harbor, this building is on what was considered the far end of Charleston.
I had never been in the grave yard before. maybe the gates are usually locked. Compared to the local churches the burial area is small.
Many of the headstones were dated just a few years before the start of the US civil war. During the war minimal damaged occurred this far up the peninsular. Ships canon could not reach up here. However, during the federal troop occupation later on nothing was completely spared.
The black and white photographs were done a little different than my usual method. Here I used DxO Filmpack with a 35mm Delta film filter as the base conversion and modified to be a bit softer. I had forgotten how ‘rough’ Delta film actually was.
Second Presbyterian Church, Meeting Street, Charleston.
Fifteen men began planning for Second Presbyterian Church in 1809. The Reverend Andrew Flinn organized the congregation to accommodate the growing congregation at First (Scots) Presbyterian Church on lower Meeting Street. The new church was built at 342 Meeting St., Charleston, South Carolina at the then substantial cost of $100,000, and on April 3, 1811, it was dedicated as “The Second Presbyterian Church of Charleston and Its Suburbs.” (Wikipedia)
Unusual for Charleston the church is set back from the street, a small park stands in front. Because the church is in ‘upper’ Charleston more land was available at the time.
The building survived the civil war better than most. The canon of the day could not reach here from the ship blockade.
This is the first time I have visited in a while since there was a fire in the spire. Repairs had the church surrounded by scaffolds for at least two years.
This church building is the fourth oldest church in town.
Second Presbyterian Church, Meeting Street, Charleston.
A few weeks ago we stopped by The Huguenot Church in Charleston. The door was open for visitors, of course it sucked us in like a magnet.
This is the third building here and was completed in 1845. The first church was opened around 1687 but burned in the late 1790’s, a second replaced it in 1800. In 1845 the current building opened in the same foot print.
The 1800’s were an ‘interesting’ time is Charleston. Repairs and rebuilds have been needed. During the US civil war the church was damaged during the bombardment by the Federal blockade. In 1886 Charleston had a major earthquake, a 7.3 magnitude making it still one of the strongest in US history. The area is on an active fault. In 2022 an area 20 miles outside town had a small quake every day for a month. (That was not in the brochure when we were moving down here)
Services are now in English though there are still a few in French during the year.
Huguenot Church, Church Street, Charleston, South Carolina.