Images of Historical Marker dedicated on October 14, 2021
ST. LUKE'S IS PART OF HISTORIC WAVERLY
Columbia's first suburb, Waverly, evolved into a community of black artisans, professionals and social reformers. Many of the residents made important contributions to Columbia and across the state. The district's concentration of educational facilities (Benedict College and Allen University) served the South's African Americans when racial discrimination denied them the opportunities for higher education. Today, Waverly is a vibrant urban neighborhood, which celebrates the past and embraces the future.
St. Luke's Episcopal Church
St. Luke's Episcopal Church was chartered in 1873 by several prominent Reconstruction era figures, including Henry E. Hayne, Theophilus Minton, Andrew M. Wallace, and E.B. Thompson, with the latter purchasing the church's first property at the corner of Hampton and Marion streets. The congregation originally met in residences until the construction of its first chapel in 1883. The congregation, needing more space, moved to 912 Hampton Street in 1911. Renowned photographer Richard Samuel Roberts, who recorded the lives of many black Columbians in the 1920s and 1930s, was a member until his death. In 1946, foreseeing the need for expansion, the vestry purchased this vacant lot. Today, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church includes a chapel (1958), church edifice (1963), and community center (1972).
James B. Urquhart designed the minimal traditional, brick-veneer and board and batten chapel, and John C. Heslep Construction Company completed its construction in 1958. Five years later, the congregation spent $70,000 on the church edifice, a Colonial Revival, brick-veneer worship center designed by Alex A. Dickson. In 1970, St. Luke’s raised more than $150,000 to construct the community center, which was completed in 1972. Long a dream of the church’s pastor, the Reverend William Fletcher O’Neal (1929-1975), the center was renamed in his honor after his death. Today, the separate units of the church property continue to function as they were intended, with the chapel serving as a venue for small ceremonies and groups, the church edifice serving as the anchor and primary worship space, and the O’Neal Center serving as a community venue for local organizations and people to gather.