Palmetto Carriage Works charming carriage tours stop at one of the most historical buildings in the city. St. Michael’s Episcopal Church is the oldest church building in Charleston, built on the original site of the first Anglican Church south of Virginia.
The first Anglican Church in the South was a small wooden structure located on the corner of Broad and Meeting Streets. The church was eventually moved to Church Street and a bigger church building. By 1751, the church had become too small for the growing population of Charleston and so began work on St. Michael’s. St. Michael’s opened its doors for services in 1761.
With the exception of one addition in 1883, little has changed about St. Michael’s over the years. The church was built in the style of architect Sir Christopher Wren and still retains its beautiful white bricks and 186 ft high steeple. The pulpit is original and so are the pews, made of local cedar. As a matter of fact, George Washington himself worshipped in the long double pew in the center of the church in May of 1791 and 70 years later, General Robert E Lee did the same.
The clock and bells are original, dating all the way back to colonial times. It is thought that St. Michael’s Church may have the oldest functioning colonial clock tower in America. The chandelier, now electric, dates back to 1803 and the new organ is housed in the original organ case dating all the way back to 1768, just seven years after the church opened its doors.
St. Michael’s has survived the Revolution and the Civil war, a tornado and an earthquake which threatened the majestic steeple. This old church has a lot of stories to tell.
Today, St. Michael’s has a thriving congregation, still holding services every Sunday and throughout the week.