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St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

St. Pauls Episcopal Church

St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Historic Augusta, Inc.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is located on the banks of the Savannah River, where in 1735, General Oglethorpe founded Georgia’s second city as a fortress and Indian trading center upriver from Savannah. The church grounds are the site of the first church of Augusta built in 1749 and the location of old Fort Augusta built by colonists as protection against Indians. Rebuilt as Fort Cornwallis during the Revolutionary War, the fort was captured by “Lighthorse Harry” Lee, which was a great blow to the British cause.

The present building is a 1917-18 copy of the old Federal style church of 1820, the fourth church on the site that burned in the Great Augusta Fire of 1916. Architect of the church, Henry T. E. Wendell, planned and supervised construction of the present building with relatively faithful adherence to John Lund’s original exterior design but with significant modifications to the earlier interior design.

The red brick church has three entrances: one central projecting entrance section and two recessed ones on either side. A colonnaded façade in the Classical Revival style with Doric columns defines the entrances and completes the portico. The entrance has double doors topped by a variation of the Palladian window. A centered round window is on each of the bell tower’s four lower sides. The top section is a multisided bell tower with a domed roof.

St. Pauls Church Historical Photo

St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Historic Augusta, Inc.

The interior of the building has arched vaulted ceilings with Corinthian pilasters. The Palladian window in the chancel over the altar is of stained glass as are the arched memorial windows in the nave. Much of the church furniture saved from the 1916 fire is still in use in the church.  The only relic of the first church is a simple marble baptismal font brought from England in 1751, which is on display in the narthex.

The cemetery dates from the very earliest days of the church and has existing tombstones dating from as early as the 1780s. It is the resting place of a number of important people. At the rear of the churchyard is a Celtic cross of granite erected by the Colonial Dames on the site of Fort Augusta/Cornwallis. General Oglethorpe brought the damaged cannon at its foot from England in 1733 for use at the fort.

Plan your visit

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is located at 605 Reynolds St. at the corner of 6th and Reynolds Sts. within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District. The church is open 9:00am to 4:00pm on Monday-Friday, 10:00am to noon Saturday. Call ahead for tours to 706-724-2485. Free. Visit its website. St. Paul’s Church and St. Paul's Parish Cemetery Gate and Gravestone have been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey.

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