St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Charleston

#24 of 38 in Historic Sites in Charleston
Church · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
St. Mary of the Annunciation Roman Catholic Church is the first Roman Catholic parish in the Carolinas and Georgia. The current building at 93 Hasell St. in Charleston, South Carolina, is the third structure to house the congregation on this site.

The property and an old building were purchased in 1789. It was incorporated as the Roman Catholic Church of Charleston by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1791. The first structure was replaced by a brick church that burned in the Charleston fire in 1838.

The church was rebuilt quickly and reopened on June 9, 1839. It is a rectangular building, 84 ft (25.6 m) by 50 ft (15.2 m). It is built of brick with a stucco covering. There are four Doric columns that support a large entablature. The parapet wall at the top of the church was probably constructed around 1896. There are stained glass windows imported from Munich.

The nave has a central aisle and two large rows of pews. There are smaller pews along the side aisles. Above the altar, there is a painting of the Crucifixion by John S. Cogdell. The artist donated this painting to replace an earlier painting he had done in 1814, which was destroyed in the fire. Much of the interior of the church was renovated during a three-month renovation in 1884.
The church graveyard is on each side and to the rear of the church.

In the early 1980s, the neighboring Charleston Place complex was constructed, bordering the church on all sides. It was the only structure preserved on the lot, besides the few storefronts facing Meeting Street which were incorporated in the parking structure.

The St. Mary's Church is on the National Register of Historic Places, No. 76001697. The South Carolina Department of Archives and History has additional pictures and information. and copies of the nomination forms. There are additional pictures and information available from the Historic American Buildings Survey at the Library of Congress.
Arrange your visit to St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church and discover more family-friendly attractions in Charleston using our Charleston travel itinerary planner.
Create an itinerary including St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors

St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
45 reviews
  • This is a very beautiful Catholic Church in downtown Charleston. One is allowed to visit. Though the statues were covered, the stained glass was wonderful.  more »
  • What a wonderful place. The church was beautiful and the liturgy was reverent and traditional. Glad we went  more »
  • Saint Mary's on Hassell Street in Charleston is a beautiful and historic church. I really like the cool columns on the outside of the church and the interior of the church is wonderfully designed too. Everyone at this church as very friendly and welcoming. I like learning the history of the church and you can feel all of the years and centuries all around you as you enter and walk around.
  • I absolutely love this church! Whenever I am in Charleston, I come to their Sunday Mass. My boyfriend and I had been trying to find a traditional (almost pre-Vatican)Roman Catholic Church in Charleston and we were so lucky when we found St. Mary’s. They have always been so welcoming, even though I live in NY and come to Charleston only a couple times a year. The building itself is historic and absolutely beautiful. The Latin music is also breathtaking. Every time I have attended mass there, I have enjoyed the homily.

Plan your trip to Charleston

  • Get a personalized trip
    A complete day by day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.