Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In a previous life it was a fort.

Stella Maris Catholic Church, Sullivan's Island, SC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

While visiting Ft. Moultrie on Sullivan's Island, I saw this old church about two blocks in the distance. After we finished touring the fort, we walked over to get a closer look at what turned out to be Stella Maris Catholic church, a church with a very interesting history.

The original building was a wooden structure erected in 1845. During the Civil War, Sullivan's Island, home of Ft. Moultrie, received extensive bombardment from Federal ships. In spite of its proximity to the fort, the church miraculously was the only public building left standing on the island when the war ended in 1865. In the late 1860s it was decided that instead of trying to rehabilitate the old wooden building, a new church building should be built.

A lot near the old structure was purchased for $100, and the church got permission from the Secretary of  War to use bricks from the ruins of Ft. Moultrie to build the new church. The cornerstone for the new building was laid on January 18, 1869. Both Protestants and Catholics from the island worked to reclaim and clean the bricks from Ft. Moultrie, and help with the construction. The building was completed in August of 1873. Work continued on the interior until 1877, and the steeple tower was completed in 1881. After learning of the history of this church, I thought using bricks from a destroyed fort was an interesting variation of beating swords into ploughshares.

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