Circular Congregational Church is one of the many interesting and historic churches in Charleston, and is home to one of the oldest community of worshippers in the USA. The church was originally founded in 1681. It is located on Meeting Street, the street named for the gatherings at this church.
The church you visit today is the fourth building housing this congregation. Records of the early churches have largely been destroyed by past hurricanes. The third church was the first circular structure the congregation used, and it was destroyed by fire in 1861. As the area was devastated by the Civil War and it took some time for rebuilding. Bricks from the burned down church were used in constructing the present sanctuary, which was completed in 1892. The church’s rounded architecture is a departure from what you usually see in Charleston. The site is on the National Register of Historic Places and is also a National Historic Landmark.
The church’s cemetery has the city’s oldest monuments, one of them dating to 1695. Most of the cemetery’s 500 headstones date to the 18th century. A variety of art decorates the headstones, ranging from a skull and cross-bones to angels.
We visited the church at dusk and entrance to the sanctuary was no longer available. But we enjoyed exploring the church’s grounds and historic cemetery, which I thought interesting and photogenic.
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