Our Photographers Contact Us
Our Patrons Please Give Today Add Images Add History Our Work South Carolina Picture Project

Arsenal Hill ARP Church — Columbia, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Richland County  |  Arsenal Hill ARP Church

Adopt A South Carolina Landmark
Arsenal Hill ARP Church

This brick edifice in downtown Columbia stands in the historic neighborhood known as Arsenal Hill. The area was the location of the former Arsenal Military Academy, created in 1842 along with The Citadel in Charleston. The military academy was built on the site of a former arsenal, giving the school its name. The only structure remaining from the academy is the Governor’s Mansion, a barracks built for the school in 1855. Arsenal Hill Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Church was built in Arsenal Hill in 1904.

Arsenal Hill ARP Church

Jim Jenkins of Chesterfield, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The congregation was formed when members of First Presbyterian Church left to organize the Mission Sabbath School on December 23, 1883. The group initially met at the State Agricultural Society at the old state fair grounds before moving to the private home of Dr. Thomas Kinkead in 1884. In February of 1885 the group purchased a lot on Richland Street and built a chapel.

Arsenal Hill ARP

Jim Jenkins of Chesterfield, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Around that same time, a storm was brewing within the nearby Columbia Theological Seminary over evolution. At the heart of the debate were two professors: Dr. John L. Girardeau, who was opposed to the idea of evolution, and Dr. James Woodrow, who claimed that evolution did not contradict Biblical teachings. When a supporter of Dr. Woodrow’s was called as the new pastor of First Presbyterian Church, a faction of the congregation left and joined Mission Sabbath School. The Misison Sabbath School then formed a new congregation called Second Presbyterian Church. It was chartered in 1886 with Dr. Girardeau as its first pastor.

Arsenal Hill Church Columbia

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2009 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

In 1892 members of the church purchased the current lot. The present church was built in 1904 with the aid of Alexander Sutherland, a Scottish stonemason and church member. It was designed by architects James Hagood Sams and Avery Carter. In 1907 the congregation changed its name to Arsenal Hill for the aforementioned neighborhood in which it rests. As for Dr. Woodrow, he was eventually removed from Columbia Theological Seminary, and the Presbyterian Church officially denounced evolution until 1969. Arsenal Hill Presbyterian Church joined the Associate Reformed Presbyterian denomination in 1973.

Interestingly, Dr. James Woodrow was the maternal uncle of President Woodrow Wilson, who lived briefly in Columbia during his youth. Wilson’s father was also a professor at the Columbia Theological Society.

Educated as both a scientist and a seminarian, Dr. Woodrow did not believe evolution contradicted creation since the Bible does not specify how God created the earth’s inhabitants. These convictions led him to be tried for heresy. Though he was exonerated, he was nevertheless dismissed from his job at the seminary, which actually closed for a year during this debate. He later served as the president of the University of South Carolina, and he remained an active minister of the Presbyterian faith until his death in 1907.

Arsenal Hill ARP Church Info

Address: 1103 Laurel Street, Columbia, SC 29201
GPS Coordinates: 34.009089,-81.038620
Website: http://www.arsenalhill.org

Arsenal Hill ARP Church Map

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you enjoy this page? Do you have any information we should add? Send us your comments below — we can't wait to hear from you!

3 Comments about Arsenal Hill ARP Church

Linda Westbrook says:
December 16th, 2018 at 7:39 pm

“Mr.” Rob, Please e-mail me the names of the two young people that you had listed on the last information you sent to Edgemoor WM. I put it in a “safe” place and cannot find it. We would like to send a donation for them. Thank you, Linda Westbrook

Bill Craig says:
August 18th, 2018 at 9:08 am

I was baptized and grew up at Arsenal Hill, the history you present is fascinating and something I had not heard. Do you have more, where and how can I get it? Thanks.

Marie Morris says:
August 2nd, 2018 at 2:27 am

I was baptised in Arsenal Hill Presbyterian Church as well as married there in 1965. Hope to visit soon. The pastor that I remember was named Rev. Beaty. Do you know his full name and where he’s buried? Thanks

Landmarks by Town, Type

Abbeville ACE Basin Adams Run Aiken Alcolu Allendale Anderson Awendaw Bamberg Banks Barns & Farms Barnwell Batesburg-Leesville Beaches Beaufort Beech Island Belton Bennettsville Bishopville Blackville Bluffton Bridges Bygone Landmarks Camden Carnegie Libraries Cayce Cemeteries Charleston Charleston Navy Base Cheraw Chester Chesterfield Churches Clemson Clinton Clio Colleges Columbia Conway Cordesville Courthouses Darlington Daufuskie Island Denmark Dillon Donalds Easley Edgefield Edisto Elloree Erhardt Eutawville Fairfax Florence Folly Beach Forests and Nature Preserves Fort Mill Fountain Inn Gaffney Garden City Beach Georgetown Glenn Springs Graniteville Great Falls Greeleyville Greenville Greenwood Greer Hamburg Hampton Hardeeville Hartsville Hemingway Hilton Head Historical Photos Historic Houses Hodges Holly Hill Honea Path Hopkins Hotels & Inns Huger Hunting Island Isle of Palms Jails James Island Jamestown Johns Island Johnsonville Johnston Kiawah Island Kingstree Lake City Lake Marion Lakes Lancaster Landrum Latta Laurens Lexington Libraries Lighthouses Little River Lowndesville Manning Marion Mars Bluff McClellanville McCormick Military Mills Moncks Corner Mountains Mount Carmel Mount Pleasant Mullins Murrells Inlet Myrtle Beach National Register Newberry Ninety Six North Augusta North Charleston North Myrtle Beach Orangeburg Pacolet Parks Pawleys Island Pendleton Pickens Piers Pinewood Pinopolis Plantations Pomaria Port Royal Post Offices Prosperity Ravenel Restaurants Ridgeland Ridge Spring Ridgeway Rivers Roadside Oddities Robert Mills Rock Hill Rockville Rosenwald Schools Salters Saluda Santee Savannah River Site SC Artists SC Heroes of the Alamo Schools Seneca Shrimp Boats Society Hill Spartanburg Sports Springs St. George St. Helena Island St. Matthews Stateburg Stores Sullivan's Island Summerton Summerville Sumter Sunset Sunsets Synagogues Town Clocks Trains & Depots Trees Trenton Troy Turbeville Ulmer Union Wadmalaw Island Walhalla Walterboro Ware Shoals Waterfalls Water Towers Wedgefield West Columbia Westminster Winnsboro Woodruff Yemassee York