This Lutheran church in Charleston began in 1883 when Dr. Edward T. Horn, pastor of St. John’s Lutheran on Clifford Street, announced in an address to the congregation his desire to build a chapel in the northeastern part of the city. The parishioners of St. John’s eagerly agreed, and a member donated a lot on the corner of America Street and Hampstead Square for the chapel. Other members donated the materials, and a frame building soon occupied the lot, serving as a Sunday School and a chapel. It was christened St. Barnabas and was a mission church of St. John’s. Preachers were later supplied from the nearby Lutheran Theological Seminary, which was located in the Darby Building in Mount Pleasant at the end of the nineteenth century.
By 1912 the popularity of St. Barnabas had grown to the point where talks of becoming a separate congregation were stirring. Later that year, St. Barnabas received its charter and became independent of St. John’s. By 1920 plans were being made to relocate the church to the northwestern part of the city and build a new sanctuary for the congregation. Following a fundraising campaign, this brick Gothic Revival church was built on the present site in 1921. The brick Sunday School building was added to the church grounds in 1947.
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