MYSTERY PHOTO:  More columns

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Here’s a building that could have been in the news recently (if so, why?)  Send your best guess to: and make sure to include your name and hometown.  If possible, write “Mystery Photo” in the subject line.

Last week’s church photo, sent in by reader Don Clark of Hartsville, wasn’t a mystery to several alert readers.  They knew it to be the Salem Black River Presbyterian Church, a beautiful Greek Revival building near Mayesville in Sumter County.  Last month, four people from 18 to 20 were arrested after satanic symbols and messages were spray-painted on the church in late September.

Congratulations to the following who correctly identified the church:  C.D. Rhodes III of Columbia; Faith Line of Anderson; Philip Cromer of Beaufort; Dale Rhodes of Richmond, Va.; Bill Segars of Hartsville; David M. Taylor of Darlington; George Graf of Palmyra, Va.; and Mac Bennett of Lake Wateree.

Segars said Salem Black River Presbyterian Church was one of his favorites.  “The true story of Salem Black River Presbyterian Church extends well beyond the impressive Greek Revival Scottish bond brick edifice built by the J. Lomas Company for $5,620 in 1846.  The congregation, that was established in 1756 as a daughter church of the 1736 Williamsburg Presbyterian church in Kingstree, has constantly given this location life for the last 261 years.  Even today, the congregation of 30 loyal souls not only provides the financial support for this building, but they continue to hold services in it at 4 p.m. on the second and fourth Sunday of every month, except August — it’s too hot.  This historic building is not abandoned.  Do yourself a favor.  Come worship in it and step back in time.”

Taylor added that the church has an “incredible cemetery in the back, complete with iron entrance gate and fence, old tombstones and drooping Spanish moss.”

Graf shared the following:  According to, from the time of its organization in the mid-eighteenth century until the present, Salem Church has played an important role in the development of history of the surrounding rural community. The church has been virtually unaltered since its construction. It features massive stucco-over-brick columns, a gable roof and a pedimented portico. Basilican in plan, the interior of Salem Black River Church is simple. A slave gallery extends along three sides and is supported by square paneled wooden pillars. Listed in the National Register November 14, 1978.”

  • Send us a mystery:  If you have a photo that you believe will stump readers, send it along (but make sure to tell us what it is because it may stump us too!)  Send to: and mark it as a photo submission.  Thanks.

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