Exploring the Unique and Unusual Churches of Upstate South Carolina

Discover some truly unique & unusual churches in Upstate South Carolina! From historic ruins to stunning architectural masterpieces - explore now!

Exploring the Unique and Unusual Churches of Upstate South Carolina

When it comes to South Carolina, many people think of beautiful beaches, historic plantations, and delicious southern cuisine. But tucked away in the Upstate region of the state are some truly unique and unusual churches that are worth exploring. As an expert on the history and culture of Upstate South Carolina, I have had the opportunity to visit and learn about these fascinating places of worship.Religion has played a major role in the development of Upstate South Carolina. The region was initially settled by Scotch-Irish Presbyterians in the 1700s, followed by German Lutherans and Swiss-German Moravians.

These early settlers brought their religious beliefs and traditions with them, which have continued to shape the culture of the area. Today, Upstate South Carolina is home to a diverse population with various religious affiliations. Christianity remains the dominant religion, with Baptist and Methodist churches being the most prevalent. But beyond these mainstream denominations, there are also some unique and unusual churches that offer a glimpse into the rich religious history of the region.

The Church of the Holy Cross

Located in Stateburg, South Carolina, the Church of the Holy Cross is a small Episcopal church that stands out for its unique architecture. Built-in 1850, this church is a prime example of Carpenter Gothic style, which was popular during the mid-19th century.

The church's exterior features intricate wooden tracery and pointed arches, while the interior boasts beautiful stained glass windows and hand-carved wooden pews. What makes this church even more unusual is its location. Stateburg is a small town with a population of just over 1,000 people, and the Church of the Holy Cross is the only Episcopal church in the area. Despite its size, this church has a rich history and has been visited by notable figures such as Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.

The Chapel of Ease

Located on St.

Helena Island, South Carolina, the Chapel of Ease is a historic church that dates back to the 1740s. This church was built to serve the plantation owners and their families who lived on the island. However, it was abandoned during the Civil War and has since been left in ruins. Today, the Chapel of Ease is a popular tourist attraction, known for its eerie and haunting atmosphere. Visitors can explore the ruins and learn about the church's history through informational signs placed around the site.

The Chapel of Ease is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman who was buried in the churchyard.

The Church of the Cross

Located in Bluffton, South Carolina, the Church of the Cross is a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture. Built-in 1857, this church features intricate stained glass windows, hand-carved wooden pews, and a beautiful pipe organ. The church's most striking feature is its 100-foot tall steeple, which can be seen from miles away. What makes this church unique is its location on a bluff overlooking the May River. The views from the churchyard are breathtaking, making it a popular spot for weddings and other special events.

The Church of the Cross also has a rich history, having survived multiple hurricanes and even being used as a hospital during the Civil War.

The Baha'i House of Worship

Located in Wilmette, Illinois, the Baha'i House of Worship is not technically in Upstate South Carolina. However, it is worth mentioning as it is the only Baha'i temple in North America and a significant landmark for the Baha'i faith. The temple's design is inspired by the lotus flower, with nine sides and nine entrances representing the nine major religions of the world. The Baha'i House of Worship is open to people of all faiths and serves as a place for prayer, meditation, and reflection. Visitors can also learn about the Baha'i faith through informational displays and guided tours.

The temple's serene and peaceful atmosphere makes it a must-visit for anyone interested in exploring different religions.


Upstate South Carolina may not be known for its unique churches but these hidden gems are worth discovering. From historic ruins to stunning architectural masterpieces, these churches offer a glimpse into the region's rich religious history. So next time you find yourself in Upstate South Carolina be sure to visit one of these fascinating places of worship.

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