Edisto Island Baptist Church

Also known as: Edisto Baptist Church
N of Edisto Island, on SC 174, Edisto Island, South Carolina


Edisto Island Baptist Church

Photo taken by Michael Miller



Street View 


Edisto Island Baptist Church was built in 1818 through the efforts of one woman, Hepzibah Jenkins Townsend. The church is also architecturally significant because the 1818 church core with its tabby foundation and recessed panel slave gallery is still intact. In addition, it is significant in African American history because it has operated continuously as a black church since the trustees turned the church over to the faithful black members after the Civil War. The original portion of the church was square in plan and supported by a tabby foundation. The two-story church is sheathed in beaded weatherboard and had a medium pitched gable roof whose ridge ran longitudinally, perpendicular to the fašade. Pedimented gable ends graced the fašade (southwest) and the rear elevation (northwest). The original fašade, which was removed and re-erected as the fašade of the ca. 1865 addition, which doubled its size, had three bays. Around 1880 a two-story pedimented portico was added to the fašade. In the first quarter of the twentieth century two small, one-story, gable roofed restrooms sheathed in shiplap siding were added to the rear of the church. Adjacent to the church is a baptismal pool, also of tabby construction. The pool might date as early as the construction of the church, although this has not been documented. Listed in the National Register April 1, 1982. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on April 1, 1982
Reference number
Areas of significance
Ethnic Heritage - Black; Religion
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event
Property type
Historic functions
Religious structure; Cemetery
Current functions
Religious structure; Cemetery
Period of significance
Significant year
ca. 1865
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 1
Contributing structures: 1
Contributing sites: 1

Update Log 

  • July 18, 2014: New photo from Michael Miller
  • July 14, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Photo", "Description" & "Street View"
  • July 14, 2014: New photo from Michael Miller