The Cedar Springs Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church is a part of the Cedar Springs Historic District located in Abbeville County. The church was organized between 1779 and 1780 as the Cedar Creek Church by Dr. Thomas Clark, a seminal leader of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. In 1791 the congregation, renamed Cedar Springs A.R.P. Church, moved two miles northwest to its current site and built a frame house for worship. This two-story brick edifice replaced the frame building in 1853.
For many years, the church shared a pastorate with its sister church, Lower Long Cane ARP Church, beginning in 1786. The Cedar Springs farming community was prosperous during this time, and the churches had a congregation of 500 members between them. Abbeville County was once considered part of South Carolina‘s frontier, and many settlers came here seeking new fortunes. In turn, the opening of our country’s western territories, from the 1820s to the 1830s, lured many Abbeville families away.
Still, many families remained in Cedar Springs and became Confederate soldiers and officers. Unfortunately, nearly half of Abbeville County’s male population was killed during the war. This had far-reaching implications as families and farms struggled to survive during the Reconstruction.
The Great Depression devastated those local farms that survived Reconstruction. The passage of time has allowed the Sumter National Forest to swallow up many traces of Abbeville and McCormick County‘s rich farming heritage.
Cedar Springs Church is listed in the National Register as part of the Cedar Springs Historic District:
The Cedar Springs Historic District, located on the boundary of Greenwood and Abbeville counties in western South Carolina, contains three buildings that remain of the once prosperous farming community of Cedar Springs. Included are the Frazier-Pressly House (ca. 1852-1856), a massive three-story plantation house; the Cedar Springs Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ca. 1853), a two-story brick meetinghouse with cemetery; and a two-story log building (ca. 1820), now covered in shiplap siding and a standing-seam metal roof, which is believed to have been a stagecoach stop. These buildings are important because they reflect the mid-nineteenth century history of this rural plantation society. The buildings of the district are still in use, and in fact, only the paving of the road and the construction of a small frame grocery/filling station mark the ingress of contemporary culture. In addition, the Frazier-Pressly House is architecturally significant as a unique example of the octagon mode of architecture. The Octagon style of residential architecture flourished in the United States from 1848 to 1860 and the Frazier-Pressly House is exceptional in that it is built around three octagons. Also unique is the “widows walk” on the roof, which is unusual in Abbeville County’s hilly environment far from the coast.
Reflections on Cedar Springs Church
Special thanks to Mark Clark, an Abbeville native who currently resides in Winnsboro, for providing much of this historical information. As Mark aptly notes, “The survival of both the Cedar Springs and Lower Long Cane churches speak to how fleeting wealth can be.”
Mark attended a service at Cedar Springs Church in May 2011 and says, “The church is air-conditioned and even features a small elevator to allow the disabled to move between the sanctuary and fellowship hall. The sanctuary itself is quite cozy and pure, being devoid of stained-glass windows. The former slave balcony in the rear of the sanctuary has been closed in and converted to three small Sunday school classrooms. It wasn’t until halfway through the service that I realized Dr. Loyd Melton (the pastor) wasn’t using a microphone of any kind. The acoustics in the sanctuary are perfect! The untouched purity of the sanctuary left quite a favorable impression on me.”
Cedar Springs Church Info
Address: Cedar Springs Road, Bradley, SC 29819
GPS Coordinates: 34.080556,-82.30208
Cedar Springs Church Map
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