Moving Star Hall

River Rd., John's Islands, South Carolina


Moving Star Hall, Facade

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

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Moving Star Hall, built ca. 1917, is significant as the only remaining praise house of the South Carolina Sea Islands that has been identified. It functioned as the meeting place of the Moving Star Young Association, a religious, social, fraternal, and charitable community institution, and is significant for its role in preserving black music and religious and social/humanitarian traditions. Largely supplanted by churches after emancipation, the praise house represented a survival of a purely plantation institution into the early twentieth century. The praise house functioned as a community meeting hall, place of religious worship, center for spreading news, and face-to-face gathering place to promote community solidarity. The crudely built, one-story, rectangular, frame, weatherboarded building is set on low concrete block pillars and has a metal-covered gable roof. The façade has a hip-roofed porch, which originally had four wooden post supports and a plank floor. The posts have been replaced by two modern wrought iron uprights set at each forward corner. At the time the praise house was built, Johns Island was geographically isolated from the mainland. Until the mid-1970s, Moving Star Hall housed a “tend-the-sick” and burial society, a secret fraternal order, and a community of worship. One outbuilding, a privy, is located to the rear. Listed in the National Register June 17, 1982. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 17, 1982
Reference number
Areas of significance
Entertainment/Recreation; Ethnic Heritage - Black; Religion; Social History
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event
Property type
Historic functions
Religious structure; Meeting hall
Period of significance
Significant year
ca. 1917
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 2

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