In The News

Editorial: A promising web of preservation expands across South Carolina

A Greenwood couple donates a 19th century Greek Revival home in Newberry to a statewide nonprofit that plans to sell it and use the proceeds to repair a historic Abbeville church with many links to Charleston.

That’s just one way a web of preservation is being spun widely across the state by the nonprofit group Preservation South Carolina. It’s a promising effort.

Mike Bedenbaugh, Preservation South Carolina executive director, acquired the 1850s-era home in Newberry as a donation from Dr. O.M. and Linda Cobb of Greenwood. Her great-grandmother bought the home in 1891. The ideal outcome would be a win-win: placing the home in the hands of a new preservation-minded owner and using part of the proceeds to help repair Trinity Episcopal Church, one of the state’s most significant at-risk churches.

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Ruff Cobb House

1850s Newberry home donated to Preservation SC; portion of sale proceeds to benefit Trinity

The acquisition of an 1850s house in Newberry by Preservation South Carolina could produce double benefits.

Investment and restoration by willing partners could help preserve the Ruff/Wicker/Cobb house for future generations, plus a portion of sale proceeds will also support restoration at Trinity Episcopal Church in Abbeville.

Mike Bedenbaugh, Preservation South Carolina executive director, announced July 18 that a Greek Revival style house in Newberry, dating to the 1850s, was donated to the nonprofit by Greenwood physician Dr. O.M. Cobb and his wife, Linda. The home was purchased by Cobb’s great-grandmother, Rebecca Paysinger in 1891.

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Mike Bedenbaugh - Trinity Abbeville

Trinity Episcopal in Abbeville to Receive National Grant

ABBEVILLE — Trinity Episcopal Church is set to be awarded a national preservation grant that will help in restoring the Trinity Street landmark.

The National Fund for Sacred Places is awarding preservation grants to 10 historic congregations in the country — totaling $1.9 million — and the gothic revival church in Abbeville is among them. Plus, it’s the only one in South Carolina for this granting cycle.

“The grant Trinity is being awarded is $250,000,” said Mike Bedenbaugh, Preservation South Carolina executive director. “However, that national preservation grant is tied to matching funds that we have to raise to get the full amount.”

Bedenbaugh said the Trinity Episcopal restoration project must raise $500,000 in matching funds.

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Society Hill Trinity Episcopal Church

New Book Aims to Preserve Endangered Sacred Spaces

News & Press
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, slyles@newsandpress.net
Society Hill’s Trinity Episcopal Church. Photo by Samantha Lyles

As modern “megachurches” spring up in more and more communities across America, many older churches are seeing their congregations dwindle. Decreased attendance makes it difficult to fund upkeep of these historic chapels and sanctuaries, and the number of at-risk sacred spaces is growing.

“We used to mostly get calls from people worried that a historic house or downtown building was in trouble, but in recent years we started hearing people say that the church their family used to attend was falling in. We saw more of that happening,” says Mike Bedenbaugh, executive director of Preservation South Carolina, a nonprofit founded to protect and restore our state’s architectural history.

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