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First Presbyterian Church of Augusta

  • Also Known As: Christ Church

  • Travel Genus: Sight
  • Sight Category: Building

First Presbyterian Church of Augusta is an excellent example of a church building that throughout its 180 years of continuous use has changed to reflect the prevailing popularity of church styles. Robert Mills (1781-1855), a nationally known architect of such works as the Washington Monument, designed the orginal church. Mills was born in Charleston and was America's first native-born architect. He was working in Philadelphia under Benjamin Latrobe, when he submitted his design for the Augusta church in 1807 in a design competition. The original plans by Mills survive and are among the oldest surviving for any Georgia building.

Constructed between 1809 and 1812 in the Classical style, the church was significantly changed in 1847 to incorporate Romanesque round-arched windows and doors and crenellated parapet walls. The only intact features surviving from the Robert Mills design, other than the overall form and size of the building, are the small anterooms that contain the winder staircases in the narthex. Four halls on the sides and rear of the sanctuary were added to the building from 1951 to 1978.

The church is the oldest Presbyterian Church building in Augusta in heavily Baptist and Methodist Georgia where Presbyterians were always in the minority. Reverend Joseph Ruggles Wilson, father of President Woodrow Wilson and a distinguished minister of his era, was the pastor from 1858 to 1870. In 1861, he and the church hosted the first meeting of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America, a national denomination formed in response to the Civil War. The church building has remained in continuous use and associated with the same congregation since its dedication in 1812. - NPS


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Timeline

Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
1807/00/00 Robert Mills Architect Robert Mills, while working in Philadelphia under Benjamin Latrobe, submits his plans for the First Presbyterian Church of Augusta design competition.
1812/00/00 First Presbyterian Church is built, 1809 to 1812 in the Classical style. Only intact features surviving, other than the overall form and size of the building, are the small anterooms that contain the winder staircases in the narthex.
1847/00/00 First Presbyterian Church of Augusta is significantly alterded to incorporate Romanesque round-arched windows and doors and crenellated parapet walls.
1858/00/00 Woodrow Wilson Faith Rev Joseph Ruggles Wilson serves as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Augusta from 1858 to 1870.
1858/00/00 Joseph Ruggles Wilson Vocation Rev Joseph Ruggles Wilson serves as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Augusta from 1858 to 1870.
1861/00/00 Joseph Ruggles Wilson Work Reverend Wilson, a leader in organizing the Presbyterian Church of the Confederate States of America, host the first meeting at First Presbyterian Church of Augusta.
1861/01/06 Joseph Ruggles Wilson Vocation Rev Joseph R Wilson provides a biblical justification for slavery in his "Mutual Relation of Masters and Slaves as Taught in the Bible" sermon.
1911/11/19 Woodrow Wilson Faith Governor Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey attends services at First Presbyterian during a visit to Augusta for several days.

Data »

Particulars for First Presbyterian Church of Augusta:
Area of Significance Architecture
Criteria Architecture-Engineering
Sight Category Building
Criteria Historic Event
Owner Private
Area of Significance Religion
Historic Use Religious Property
Architectural Style Romanesque Revival
Area of Significance Social History
Level of Significance State



US National Registry of Historic Places Data »

Accurate at time of registration: 21st February 1997

PLACE DETAILS
Registry Name: First Presbyterian Church of Augusta
Registry Address: 642 Telfair St.
Registry Number: 97000100
Resource Type: Building
Owner: Private
Architect: Mills, Robert
Architectural Style: Romanesque
Area in Acres: 3
Contributing Buildings: 1
Contributing Sites: 1
Contributing Structures: 1
Contributing Objects: 1
Other Certification: Date received-pending nomination
Certification: Listed in the National Register
CULTURAL DETAILS
Level of Significance: State
Area of Significance: Architecture, Social history, Religion
Applicable Criteria: Event, Architecture-Engineering
Criteria Consideration: Religious property
Significant Year: 1809, 1812, 1847
Historic Function: Religion
Historic Sub-Function: Religious structure
Current Function: Religion
Current Sub-Function: Religious structure

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