Clarkesville, GA – Grace Calvary Episcopal Church is the oldest church building in Habersham County, and the second oldest Episcopal Church in the state of Georgia! Only Christ Church in Savannah is older. I had an opportunity to visit this church last year and learn about it’s unique features.
Founded in 1838, the church building was completed by Jarvis Van Buren in 1842. The Van Buren name sound familiar? He was a cousin of President Martin Van Buren.
This Greek Revival beauty features box pews – which were designed to keep out drafts. This was the first church I’ve been in with these pews. Pretty neat! The large windows still feature many original hand blown glass panes. The church was quite full while we were there, so I did find a great photo to demonstrate the interior of the church below.
A prominent feature of this church is the Erban Organ, which was purchased from New York City in 1848. This is the oldest pipe organ in the state of Georgia, and we were fortunate enough to attend an organ recital when visiting the church.
The organ arrived unassembled – and turns out it was a foot too tall for the space, so it’s actually set in a pit in the balcony! Fully restored, it has its 19th century pitch and was really beautiful to listen to.
Truly a beautiful space to visit, and amazing to learn more of the history of the oldest church building in Habersham County. With all the progress in its 170 year history, this building remains a part of the community.
Thanks so much for reading the blog – sure do appreciate it! If you’re on Instagram, I do post photos daily @oldgeorgiahomes. Thanks to the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation for this great tour opportunity!