Unitarian Church

ca. 1787/1852
8 Archdale Street
Charleston, South Carolina

Originally constructed in 1787 in the Georgian style, the church was transformed into a soaring Gothic style structure by noted architect Francis D. Lee. The elaborate ornamental plaster ceiling is based on the Henry VIII Chapel at Westminster Abbey. The church suffered extensive damage during the earthquake of 1886. Over the years, effects from these modifications and repairs had taken a toll on the structural integrity of the exterior walls. Water was penetrating the many cracks in the masonry walls, threatening the significant Gothic interior. To address the problem, the entire building and tower were scaffolded. Extensive repairs of the masonry walls included the installation of over 1,500 stainless steel rods to stitch together the fractured walls. The exterior stucco was restored and limewashed using the original color uncovered during the restoration process. The interior restoration of the church was completed as part of a Save America’s Treasures grant program offered by the National Park Service.