Saint Michael's Episcopal Church
Charleston, SC 29401
Hours: Open to the public
Monday - Friday: 8:45a to 4:45p
St. Michael's Episcopal Church is one of the finest Colonial American churches in the country and the oldest church in Charleston. The church was built between 1752 and 1761 and resembles 18th-century English pattern book of examples widely used throughout the colonies. It is similar in many respects to London's St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Elegant features of the two-story stuccoed brick church are its giant classical portico and a 186-foot high massively proportioned steeple.
Approximately 15 years after its doors opened, St. Michael's became Charleston's focal point of Colonial resistance to the British. Contributing to the war effort, the lead roof was melted down for bullets.
The current portico dates to the late 1880s, and is a replica of the original which was damaged in the 1886 earthquake. The interior of the church still retains its traditional 18th-century English design, with a three-sided second story gallery and native cedar box-pews. The pews have recently been restored to their 18th-century finish. St. Michael's bells are among the city's most beloved treasures, imported from England in 1764.
During the Revolutionary War the bells were taken to England as a prize of war, but a London merchant purchased and returned them. During the Civil War, they were sent to Columbia, but cracked during a fire in 1865. The metal fragments were salvaged and sent to England to be recast in their original moulds and were later hung in the church tower.