Mary Jenkins Community Praise House

On SC Sec. Rd. 74, 2.1 mi. N of its jct. with US Hwy. 21, Frogmore, South Carolina

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Mary Jenkins Community Praise House

Photo taken by Michael Miller in November 2019

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Description 

The Mary Jenkins Community Praise House, built ca. 1900, is one of four known extant praise houses on St. Helena Island. Praise houses were first established on St. Helena plantations in the antebellum period, as slaves used small frame houses or other buildings as places to meet and worship. After they became freedmen, they built praise houses on or near the old plantation, in most instances calling their community by the name of the former plantation or plantation owner. Although the extant praise houses date from ca. 1900, their function has persisted since before emancipation and the basic architectural form has been retained. Since there were, and are, few formal church buildings on St. Helena, most islanders could only walk or ride to the main church on Sunday morning. For other community meetings or services, praise houses were built in each of the communities created by the former plantations, and services were held on Sunday, Tuesday, And Thursday nights, as well as the Watch Night Service each New Year’s. A typical service might consist of singing, prayer, perhaps a member’s testimony of a religious experience, and almost always ending with a “shout.” Kit Chaplin built this praise house ca. 1900; Paris Capers, born in 1863, was one of the early elders. Members of Ebenezer Baptist Church still attend services here today; a cow bell, which is still in the praise house, has been rung for many years to alert the members to a service or meeting. Listed in the National Register May 19, 1989. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 19, 1989
Reference number
88001770
NR name
Jenkins, Mary, Community Praise House
Areas of significance
Ethnic Heritage - Black; Architecture; Religion; Social History
Level of significance
National
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Building
Historic functions
Religious structure; Meeting hall
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1925-1949
Significant year
ca. 1900

Update Log 

  • December 2, 2019: New photo from Michael Miller
  • August 18, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller
  • June 17, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description" & "Street View"
  • June 17, 2014: New Street View added by Michael Miller

Sources