Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Also known as: Old Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
369 Drayton St., McClellanville, South Carolina


Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Facade

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

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Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, built ca. 1872, is significant as an example of late-nineteenth century vernacular Gothic Revival church architecture and as an illustration of the growth of the A.M.E. Church among freedmen in Reconstruction-era South Carolina. Organized in 1867, Bethel A.M.E. was the first African American church in McClellanville. The rectangular building, set upon low brick piers, is approximately 30 x 82 feet, with a pedimented gable-front roof that supports a square-based steeple. The red V-crimp metal-clad steeple roof is steeply pitched, flared, and has narrow gabled Gothic dormers on each face. The Gothic Revival style church is sided with cypress fishscale shingles with the exception of the front bays of both side elevations, which are covered with white asbestos shingles. Windows are four-over-two with a two-light transom. The transom and upper four-light sections are fixed; the lower two-light sash opens outward in an awning-like configuration. Some windows and all transoms retain the original colored panes; most of the windowpanes were replaced in 1989 after Hurricane Hugo. There are blind pointed Gothic arches with chevron wooden panels over each window. The church cemetery, with tombstones dating from the 1880s to the late twentieth century, also contributes to the historic character of the property. Listed in the National Register June 22, 2004. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 22, 2004
Reference number
Architectural style
Victorian: Gothic
Areas of significance
Ethnic Heritage - Black; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Religious structure; Cemetery
Current function
Meeting hall
Periods of significance
1850-1874; 1875-1899; 1900-1924; 1925-1949; 1950-1974
Significant year
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 1
Contributing sites: 1

Update Log 

  • August 18, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller
  • July 10, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description" & "Street View"
  • July 10, 2014: New Street View added by Michael Miller