Old Bethel United Methodist Church

Also known as: Bethel Methodist Church
222 Calhoun St., Charleston, South Carolina


Old Bethel United Methodist Church, Facade

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

View this photo at nationalregister.sc.gov


Street View 


Begun in 1797 and completed in 1809, Old Bethel Methodist Church is the oldest Methodist church building still standing in Charleston. Construction of the original meeting house style church was planned by Francis Asbury, the first Bishop of American Methodism, in the 18th century. The founding of Old Bethel Church by both black and white members was indicative of the Methodist Church philosophy of encouraging black membership in the church. Originally located at the corner of Pitt and Calhoun Streets, the church served a congregation of blacks and whites until the 1840s when the blacks seceded. In 1852 the church was moved to the western part of the church grounds where it was used by the blacks. A new brick church, Bethel Methodist, constructed on the original site, served an all-white congregation. Old Bethel was again moved in 1880 when the building was given to the black congregation and was rolled across Calhoun Street to its present site. Originally a gabled meetinghouse style church, the white clapboard building has been altered by the addition to the fašade of a gabled portico supported by four fluted Corinthian columns. A central double door is flanked by single doors on either side, and these entrances are surmounted by segmented transoms. Within the front gable is a semi-circular louver. Brick foundations of American bond date from 1880. Listed in the National Register April 21, 1975. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on April 21, 1975
Reference number
Areas of significance
Ethnic Heritage - Black; Architecture; Religion
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Religious structure
Current function
Religious structure
Periods of significance
1800-1824; 1750-1799
Significant years
1797; 1809

Update Log 

  • August 19, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller
  • July 23, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description" & "Street View"
  • July 23, 2014: New Street View added by Michael Miller

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