Old Presbyterian Church

Also known as: First Presbyterian Church, Barnwell First Presbyterian Church, Old Barnwell County Courthouse
1905 Academy St., Barnwell, South Carolina

Historic antebellum church in Barnwell, SC


Old Presbyterian Church, Left Oblique

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

View this photo at nationalregister.sc.gov


Street View 


(Barnwell First Presbyterian Church) The Old Presbyterian Church is significant for its architecture and as the town of Barnwell’s first Presbyterian Church, which was used as the Barnwell County Courthouse during Reconstruction. It is also one of the few remaining antebellum buildings in town which was almost entirely destroyed by Gen. Sherman’s troops. The church was organized in June of 1832 by the Reverend Dr. James Henley Thornwell, a noted Presbyterian clergyman and later president of South Carolina College. The present church was built ca. 1848 of Greek Revival design with Gothic details. The pedimented gable roof is supported by four large square columns that rest on brick piers. Each window is crowned by a lancet arch with tracery of wood and glass. The church was apparently constructed by a local craftsman and has hand carved interior woodwork and a slave gallery. Listed in the National Register April 13, 1972.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on April 13, 1972
Reference number
Architectural style
Mid 19th Century Revival: Exotic Revival
Areas of significance
Politics/Government; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Religious structure
Periods of significance
1850-1874; 1825-1849
Significant years
ca. 1848; 1867

Update Log 

  • August 15, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller
  • October 25, 2013: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description" & "Overview", Updated "GPS Coordinates"