An Act for the establishment of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church was signed on May 11, 1754 and was soon followed by the arrival of the first rector, Rev. Mr. Alexander Keith of St. Philip’s in Charles Town. Among only 112 active Episcopal churches in the United States dating from colonial times, St. Stephen’s has been described as “one of the handsomest country churches in South Carolina.”
The exterior of the church, which was completed in 1767, has been criticized because of the high gambrel roof considered too heavy for the structure. However, according to architectural historian Samuel Gaillard Stoney, “Any failures the church has in other respects are more than made up for by the virtues of its workmanship…” Today, St. Stephen’s Church has an active congregation and regular services. In 1970, the church was designated a National Historic Landmark, a testimony to the dedication and craftsmanship of its builders.