Old Pickens Presbyterian Church is all that remains of the town of Pickens Courthouse, abandoned in the late 1860s. What happened to the town and why was it abandoned? I was curious about this, and learned some interesting history of this antebellum church.
This well-planned upstate town had a lot going for it back in the day. As it grew, the Old Pickens Presbyterian Church was built around 1850. It’s not often I run into old country churches built of brick, and lucky for us this one has remained virtually unchanged.
The town of Pickens Court House was established in the 1820s, mainly to relieve overcrowding of the nearby Pendleton court. The town itself was never large, with a population of about 100. Yet it had general stores, an academy, and by 1850 this church was built. Old Pickens Presbyterian Church started with 14 members.
A few years after the Civil War ended in 1865, new counties were formed. As a result of this, the town of Pickens was established as the seat of Pickens County. The town of Pickens Court House was basically abandoned at this time. Several people had their homes moved to the new town of Pickens. Amazing to think of the effort it took to move a building 15 miles before all the modern machines we have.
The church didn’t move when the town was abandoned. It was renamed Old Pickens Presbyterian, to eliminate confusion with Pickens Presbyterian in the new town of Pickens. It continued to serve as a local church, and over the years it was home to Baptist and Methodist churches. There are about 200 graves in the cemetery.
The church continued regular services until 1919. After that, it was opened periodically for homecomings, etc. Mr and Mrs F. Lawrence Whitmire were the only two members of this church, and they took on all the maintenance and upkeep of this historic building for years. In 1968, the church was officially dissolved. Fortunately, this beautiful old church has been saved and preserved for us to enjoy today. A Foundation was created to care for this sacred space, and the church is open the second and fourth Sunday between April and October. Lots more details available by visiting the Old Pickens Foundation.
I look forward to visiting this beautiful old church again – it’s a quiet, peaceful spot to enjoy. Thanks for stopping by the blog today!