Our History



February 1848: The church was established as a congregation on the last Sunday of the month, with five men and eleven women as charter members.

July 1850: Vardry McBee, known as “the father of Greenville,” presented a deed for the land that the church now sits on. Several church trustees paid one dollar for the land to make it a proper real estate transaction. McBee, who was the husband of founding member Jane McBee and joined himself in 1861, also gifted the land for several other downtown churches.

1851: The first building was completed at a cost of $2,188.41. At this time, the church was known as Presbyterian Church of Greenville Court House, with The Rev. Savage Smith Gaillard as its first pastor.

December 1853: The church’s name was changed to Washington Street Presbyterian Church.

1882: The original church building was torn down because the congregation had quickly outgrown it as Greenville’s population increased.

1883: The new church was built by Joshua W. Nichols, a contractor who was a member of the church, for $24,596.71.

1911: Because the congregation had swelled due to the growth of Greenville and attendance by students from Chicora College (a Presbyterian college for women located off Main Street across from what is now Falls Park), the sanctuary was enlarged so that more worshipers could be seated.

February 1912: As more Presbyterian churches moved into the area as a result of the efforts of missionaries, the name was changed to its present one: First Presbyterian Church of Greenville, SC.

1928: A red brick educational building was added to the campus.

1973: The congregation expanded its facilities once again by building another educational wing and gymnasium, the present Symmes-Wilson building.

1987: The current sanctuary, with seating for 1,400, was completed.

1998: The church underwent another expansion program with the building of a Christian Life Center and renovation of the red brick building. The new structure includes a new chapel, staff offices, youth floor, fellowship hall, and kitchen. The old fellowship hall and kitchen were renovated for more kindergarten classrooms and the Tucker-Dean nursery was also renovated and enlarged. Coffee Street was closed and the Stewart-Adams Scout Building relocated across Academy Street.

2019: As a congregation located at the heart of one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, we are excited and delighted with the significant growth and development in the city of Greenville. A capital campaign was started for an extensive and comprehensive campus expansion to include the construction of a new Worship and Arts Center, a centrally located main entrance and gathering space, a new gymnasium, additional adult and children’s classrooms, new youth facilities, and a secure yet accessible area for our children’s ministry.