St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church — Aiken, South Carolina
SC Picture Project | Aiken County | St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church
Built in 1842, St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church is the oldest church structure in Aiken. Originally a simple frame building, the church underwent extensive modifications in 1926 to give it its signature yellow stucco and Greek Revival style. St. Thaddeus was the church home of many wealthy Northerners who began wintering in Aiken during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These seasonal residents comprised what is known as the the city’s Winter Colony. Financial support from this group enabled the renovation of the church to reflect its prosperous congregation.
At one point, only Confederate soldiers who fought during the Civil War‘s Battle of Aiken were granted burial rights in the churchyard. It remains an active church and is associated with Mead Hall Episcopal School, which was started by the church in the Winter Colony home of George Mead, Sr. In 1955 Mead donated his home to St. Thaddeus to be used as a school in honor of his son, George Mead, Jr., who was killed in World War II.
St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church is listed in the National Register:
Although St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church has been important in the history of the town of Aiken since its construction ca. 1842, it is also important for its association with the Aiken Winter Colony. Many of the Winter Colonists belonged to the congregation of St. Thaddeus and contributed generously to its “restoration” in 1926. The changes made to St. Thaddeus reflect the wealth and sophistication of its congregation during the Winter Colony era and illustrate the impact of the Winter Colony community.
The church was extensively remodeled in 1926 according to the design of Albert Simons of Charleston. Originally a simple frame, weatherboarded building, St. Thaddeus is now stuccoed and has Greek Revival proportions. The three-bay façade features a pedimented Doric portico that shelters the central, double-door entrance. The entrance features a transom and shelf architrave and is flanked by secondary entrances with transoms and similar architraves. The church has a gable roof surmounted by a one-stage, inset steeple with spire and cross. The nominated property includes the church cemetery.
Reflections on St. Thaddeus Episcopal
Andy Hunter, a longtime SC Picture Project contributor, describes the scene he found at St. Thaddeus in July of 2013: “I’ve been through Aiken a hundred times but never noticed St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church. This afternoon I did! It is full of SC history, with many notable SC historical figures buried in its cemetery. What I did not expect were two hawks perched on the steeple’s cross keeping watch over the church’s beautiful property. A close up of the pair is shown above!”
St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church Info
Address: 125 Pendleton Street SW, Aiken, SC 29801
GPS Coordinates: 33.561939,-81.724678