Unitarian Church in Charleston, Charleston

Categories: Sacred & Religious Sites, Architectural Buildings, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.7/5 based on 90+ reviews on the web
The Unitarian Church in Charleston, home to a Unitarian Universalist congregation, is an historic church located at 4 Archdale Street in Charleston, South Carolina. It is "the oldest Unitarian church in the South" and is a National Historic Landmark. It is the second oldest church in downtown Charleston. Its construction began in 1772 when the Society of Dissenters (now known as the Circular Congregational Church) needed more space than its Meeting Street location could provide. It was nearly complete in 1776 when the Revolutionary War began, finally being repaired and officially dedicated in 1787.It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973.HistoryThe Unitarian Universalist Church was not originally built by the Unitarians. It was constructed by the Society of Dissenters who needed more worship space. Construction began in 1774 and was nearly complete in 1776 when the Revolutionary War ignited. It is thought that when the British occupied Charleston, they quartered militia and possibly even horses in the building. It was not until after the war ended that the building could be repaired and officially dedicated in 1787. It was unofficially named The Archdale Street Meeting House.For 30 years following the dedication, the Meeting Street and Archdale Street churches operated as a single entity. They shared not only the same two ministers, but the same sermon was delivered each Sunday. Drs. Hollinshead and Keith, co-pastors of the church, preached one sermon in both houses each Sunday, alternating morning and afternoon services. In 1817, one of the ministers and several congregants became Unitarians, moved to the Archdale Street Meeting House, and founded the Second Independent Church in Charleston.
Arrange to visit Unitarian Church in Charleston and other attractions in Charleston using our Charleston vacation planner.
Create a full itinerary - for free!
going to
read all reviews »
  • I stumbled upon the Unitarian Church entirely by accident. As I strolled along King Street, I passed a set or iron gates that led to a shaded brick pathway. This path led to an old cemetery and garden...  read more »
  • The experience started at one end by a pathway under the trees and plants. It winded through the cemetery and to the church. 
  • Church is beautiful, but the real "secret" is the churchyard - filled with history of the common folks of Charlestown. Parts of it are overgrown, but the trees with the hanging moss over the grave mar...  read more »
  • Absolutely stunning graveyard! My favorite one in downtown.
  • Beautiful old church & interesting cemetery
  • Walk through the church yard. It's beautiful and peaceful.
  • Beautiful historic landmark
  • The interior of the majestic bldg was worth the visit. On the downside I was looking for a similar experience to that I experienced at the UU Church in Boston, whose building may have been erected in the 1600-1700's I believe, and this local church was founded by Ralph Waldo Emerson himself. The ideas expressed there were inspired, inclusive, intellectually stimulating, and spiritually avant garde and highly liberal. To my disappointment I found the Charleston UU church service embodied that of any Christian denominational church with the exception being the non-Christ centered lyrics of the hymns, and the sermon content aimed exclusively at debunking tenants of Christian faith; this was not intelligent and respectful inclusivity, but another example of exclusion.
Nearby Attractions
Visit for 8​h
Visit for 1​h 30​m
Visit for 2​h 30​m
Visit for 3​h
Visit for 3​h