Central Baptist Church

26 Radcliffe St., Charleston, South Carolina


Central Baptist Church, Left Oblique

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

View this photo at nationalregister.sc.gov


Street View 


Central Baptist Church (ca. 1893) is significant in terms of black history and folk art. Locally, it is thought to be one of the first black churches to have been founded and built solely by blacks in Charleston. The church was founded in 1891 by a group from Morris Street Baptist Church, an older church in Charleston. Two years later the present structure was completed and first used by the congregation in August 1893. During its first 20 years the church grew and this growth is reflected in the addition of the notable murals of 1915. The church is an excellent example of the Carpenter Gothic vernacular style of architecture. Outstanding features of this church which are indicative of the style and period are the central double doors with protective hood above, octagonal belfry and dome, tower window with plate tracery, interior gallery on three sides, and Milai frescoes and murals depicting scenes of the life of Christ, signed by the artist Amohamed Milai in 1915. The gable roof is covered with standing seam tin and the boxed cornice features decorative brackets. The Adult Education Building to the right of the church is a typical Victorian “single house” of the period and is included within the nominated acreage. Listed in the National Register August 16, 1977. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on August 16, 1977
Reference number
Architectural styles
Victorian: Gothic; Other architectural type; Carpenter Gothic
Areas of significance
Art; Ethnic Heritage - Black; Architecture; Religion
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Religious structure; Church school
Current functions
Religious structure; Church school
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899
Significant years
1891; 1915
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 2

Update Log 

  • January 26, 2016: New Street View added by Michael Miller
  • 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