St. Philip’s Episcopal Church
Downtown. 142 Church St. 722-7734
Considering the hell St. Philip’s has caught from Mother Nature, Yankees, and sheer bad luck over 327 years, it’s no wonder this is stop number one on any Charleston ghost tour.
1680 St. Philip’s is founded at Meeting and Broad (present site of St. Michael’s), making it the oldest church in Charleston and the first Anglican parish south of Virginia.
1710 A hurricane knocks it down. Construction begins at present-day Church Street site.
1713 Another hurricane levels the halfway-through-construction replacement.
1835 A fire burns the church to the ground, and the current building is constructed.
1865 The Union army targets St. Philip’s steeple during bombardment. A shell explodes in church yard during Sunday morning worship. They finish the service, then relocate until after the war.
1927 A tornado knocks the steeple off.
1928 Father Guerry, (Bishop at St. Philip’s), is murdered by an angry clergyman.
1989 Hugo comes to call. $4.5 million in damages.
Between the 1886 earthquake and another tornado in 1928, Best Church competitor St. Michael’s has suffered as well, but never to the consistent extent as their mother congregation around the block. As 2004 winner Seacoast continues to Mc-Praise their way into countless Southern cities, it’s refreshing to see that so many City Paper readers kick it old school with the Whiskeypalians. –Stratton Lawrence
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