First Presbyterian Church

1324 Marion St., Columbia, South Carolina



Photo taken for the Historic American Buildings Survey


Street View 


Well-preserved Gothic Revival church. A number of eminent people were among the congregation of this church including Ann Pamela Cunningham, organizer of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association and Dr. & Mrs. Joseph Wilson, parents of Woodrow Wilson. -- Historic American Buildings Survey

The First Presbyterian Church, constructed ca. 1854, is a fine example of early English Gothic architecture, characterized by a vaulted ribbed ceiling. Its 188-foot spire is one of Columbiaís most distinctive architectural features. Its congregation was the first organized in Columbia (1795). According to tradition, the Presbyterian congregation drew lots with the Episcopal congregation, and won its present lot, which included the heretofore public non-denominational Columbia graveyard, dating from 1797. Buried here are Henry W. DeSaussure, first director of the U.S. Mint, Ann Pamela Cuningham, restorer of Mt. Vernon and President Woodrow Wilsonís parents. Past congregational members include Colonel Thomas Taylor (upon whose plantation part of Columbia was built), scientist Dr. Joseph LeConte, architect Robert Mills and President Woodrow Wilson. The English Gothic structure is of reddish-brown stucco-covered brick. It features a central pinnacled steeple, an entrance flanked by pseudo-Corinthian columns, shouldered buttresses, stained glass windows, and pinnacles on the corners and along the battlemented roof. It is the second church built on this site. The church building was extensively remodeled in 1925. Listed in the National Register January 25, 1971. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on January 25, 1971
Reference number
Architectural style
Victorian: Gothic
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Religious structure; Cemetery
Current functions
Religious structure; Cemetery
Period of significance
Significant year

Update Log 

  • October 10, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description" & "Street View" and Imported Photo
  • July 7, 2012: Imported photos from HABS/HAER