Two circumstances in 1889 led to the formation of Pendleton Street Baptist Church (PSBC), in Greenville, SC. First, a burgeoning population growth was taking place on the west side of the Reedy River. Second, these residents were finding it difficult, if not impossible at times, to ford the then un-bridged Reedy in order to attend Greenville First Baptist Church on West McBee Avenue downtown. Therefore, on March 3, in a room over Gibbs’ Grocery Store on Pendleton Street, a number of Greenville First Baptist Church members met as a mission Sunday School. The little mission grew quickly and one year later it was ready to become a church.
Thus, Pendleton Street Baptist Church (organized first as West End Baptist Church) was established on March 30th, 1890. According to the Minutes of Organization of Pendleton Street Baptist Church, “…Dr. J.C. Furman preached a sermon from Psalms 84:1, ‘How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts,'” after which “ninety-seven charter members stood to affirm their acceptance of doctrine and belief.”
On a 50 x 150-ft. lot at the corner of Perry Avenue and Pendleton Street, the first church building was erected in 1890. As growth demanded more space, the original building was enlarged. The Hahn Building was completed in 1938, the Educational Building in 1951, and the last sanctuary in 1962. The original, often modified, sanctuary was demolished in 1972. In its place, the Rivers Building (gym) was erected in 1973. By extending South Main Street to include several blocks of what was formerly Pendleton Street, the City of Greenville changed PSBC’s address to 1100 South Main Street. Over the years Pendleton Street Baptist Church bought additional property so that the church would occupy the entire block except for the corner lot at Markley and South Main, occupied by Saint Andrew Episcopal Church.
During its 126-year history, Pendleton Street Baptist Church has called fourteen pastors and four supply or interim pastors. Those serving since 1914 include B.D. Hahn, who began his ministry at PSBC that year, J. Dean Crain,who followed in 1931, D.M. Rivers in 1952, R.W. (Jack) Causey in 1974, W.R. (Bill) West in 1988, Larry E. Jones in 1997, and T.M. (Marty) Price in 2003.
In recent years, with population changes and the gentrification of the West End of Greenville, several investment groups had become interested in the church property. After praying and seeking the will of God concerning these inquiries, the Leadership Team and congregation of PSBC felt God leading them in a new direction concerning the physical property of Pendleton Street Baptist Church. With months of prayer and discussion behind them, on June 14, 2015, the congregation voted to sell a portion of the property to Woodfield Acquisitions.
Currently, Pendleton Street Baptist Church meets for worship at the Hilton Greenville at 45 West Orchard Park Drive. Several small home groups meet during the week at members’ homes. (We normally have other events, classes, Bible studies, etc., and will resume these programs as soon as the pandemic has been eliminated.) The church leaders and members believe it is God’s will for them to continue in their ministry to the West End of Greenville, South Carolina. To that end, PSBC purchased property, including an office building, at 123 Arlington Avenue, and is in the process of planning additional uses of this property, with hopes of being great benefit to the neighborhood and surrounding community.
From those first ninety-seven charter members in 1890 until today, Pendleton Street Baptist Church members have sought diligently to know and follow God’s will. Much more than bricks and mortar, PSBC is a family of faith with a rich heritage steeped in the love of God as expressed in worship, Bible study, ministry, and missions. Pendleton Street Baptist Church exists today through the grace of God and through the sacrifice, foresight, and faith of those brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone before.