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“U” is for the Unitarian Church in Charleston

South Carolina from A to Z logo

  “U” is for the Unitarian Church in Charleston. Located at 6 Archdale Street, the church has long been considered one of the city's most exceptional buildings. Originally built in 1772, in the nineteenth century it was remodeled with Gothic Revival features. Constructed of stuccoed brick, the church features a crenellated tower. The interior includes exquisite fan vaulting, which is said to have been inspired by the interior of the Henry VII chapel at Westminster Abbey. Notable design elements accompanying the Unitarian Church site include a historic garden and graveyard featuring a Gothic monument to the church's most famous pastor, Dr. Samuel Gilman. Gothic architecture gained popularity in Charleston during the mid-nineteenth century, following the lead of the romantic and picturesque movements in England. The Unitarian Church is a superb example of this romanticized Gothic revival style.


Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.