PICKENS — Tucked away in the foothills of Pickens County, near the end of a dead-end road, is an unassuming little church, fronted by a cemetery.
Such a sight is not unusual in the Upstate, but for the members of Cold Spring Baptist Church, their little church is about to turn 146-years-old.
Cold Spring Missionary Baptist Church will celebrate its 146th year anniversary on May 1. Services are held every Sunday morning at 11:15 a.m.
“We’re a small congregation,” said church member Bonita Holland. “There’s only about 30 active members.”
Pastor James W. Hallums said Cold Spring was founded in 1870 but there was no brick building, no stained glass and no steeple back then. The church’s first pastor, the Rev. Andy Gowens, preached under an arbor made of brush. During Gowens’ two decades as the church’s leader, the brushy arbor was eventually replaced by a log cabin.
Accounts differ on exactly where the church got the land for the church. Hallums stated that it was donated from the estate of Mae Bruce, while the U.S. Genealogical Archives claim the land was willed by a “Mac Bruce.” Either way, both accounts agree the donation was made in 1870.
“The Rev. George Earl was Cold Spring’s second pastor for 27 years,” said Hallums. “Others following as pastors were the Rev. Baker, Rev. J.H. McKissick, and Rev. E.D. Watkins, who served the congregation for 28 years.”
Hallums said the Rev. Brooner succeeded Watkins and led the church for almost two years before the Rev. M.P. Robertson became pastor, serving one year.
Robertson was followed by the Rev. Ellis and he was followed by the Rev. George Earl who was followed by several more but it was under Earl’s tenure the brick church that stands today was first constructed.
J.D. Welborn donated the land for the cemetery, which is still in use today, back in 1885.
“Rev. Hallums became pastor in 1990,” said Holland. “And I’ve been coming here (Cold Spring) since 1974. Like I said, our congregation is small, but that makes us tight-knit as well.”
Any building in Pickens County that’s almost 150 years old is bound to have seen its share of history. Cold Spring Baptist Church is no different. In addition to being a house of worship and a cemetery, Cold Spring was, at one time, a school.
“In 1878, Mrs. Lucie Bruce and Francis Mauldin gave the black people one acre of land to be used for school purposes,” said Hallums. “When it ceased to be used for school purposes, it would revert back to the grantors.
“That same year, a log cabin was constructed, which was crude and unceiled [sic] with plank seats and no blackboard. The windows were wooden shutters. A big fireplace at one end of the building was the only method of heating. Later, a hailstorm blew the building away and the church was used until 1934.”
Hallums said the first teacher of Cold Spring School was the Rev. McKissick who was later followed by Ethel Hagood, Jim Richardson and the Rev. Lawton.
“In 1913, Cold Spring had 20 days of school and an enrollment of 25,” said Hallums. “The teacher who held a second grade certificate received an annual salary of $25. The building and grounds were valued at $125.”
According to Hallums, by 1949, the white wooden building that consisted of one room now boasted oiled floors, good blackboards and windows with shades and curtains. The school even had an organ. Eight pupils were enrolled in seven grades with one teacher.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.