Our Roots

The Arsenal Hill area gets its name from the military academy opened in 1842 and is the highest point in downtown Columbia.  Formerly the location of the Palmetto Armory and still home to the Governor's Mansion, Arsenal Hill is also where God has called us to take our stand for Him and to make our center of ministry to the city of Columbia. 

From its beginnings in 1883 as the "Mission Sabbath School," the story of Arsenal Hill Presbyterian Church reminds us of a commitment to breaking down barriers in obedience to the Bible and for God's glory.  Dr. John L. Girardeau, in 1886 the church's first pastor, would have rejoiced at today's vision for God's work through Arsenal Hill.  He had previously served in Charleston, SC, where he loved and ministered to slaves, served as a pastor to Zion Presbyterian Church, a large congregation of 1,500 blacks, and was the first minister to ordain blacks as ruling elders.  

Dr. Girardeau's gravestone at Elmwood Cemetery, Columbia, SC

Dr. Girardeau's gravestone at Elmwood Cemetery, Columbia, SC

We celebrate God's great faithfulness to Arsenal Hill through the years, thanking Him for godly, compassionate leadership in the past and trusting Him to make us faithful to the vision He has given us for a truly multi-ethnic church.  


ARSENAL HILL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH  -  1103 LAUREL STREET, COLUMBIA, SC  29201  -  803-765-0100