Savannah on Savannah

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Posts tagged jingle bells church

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This is a church downtown known most commonly as the Jingle Bells church. It’s evidently a very popular sight to see on tours, as I was passed by a walking tour, a Segway tour (yes, we have Segway tours in Savannah), a carriage tour, and a couple of trolley tours while I was drawing this church. It’s not surprising, as it is a fairly unusual building appearance-wise. Aside from its castle-esque facade, it’s entirely a pale pink color and composed of unusually large blocks (or at least it appears to be). One of the tour guides remarked that the colorful blocks made her think the building might be made of Legos! 
It was built in 1851 by John Norris on Oglethorpe square as a gift to Savannah’s Unitarian congregation from Moses Eastman (a silversmith in New Hampshire). It was the first public building in Savannah that was gas-lit. It gets its nickname from the fact that James Pierpont, the composer of the song Jingle Bells, was the music director and organist there in the 1850s. The church was unfortunately forced to close before the Civil War due to the congregation’s abolitionist leanings.
After the Civil War, the Episcopalian Diocese of Georgia bought the building to be St. Stephen’s Episcopalian Church. It was the first African American Episcopalian parish in Savannah. However, the other residents of Oglethorpe square took offense at this. Thus, the whole building was rolled on logs from Oglethorpe square to Troup Square on Habersham street. It remained this way until 1947, when it became a Southern Baptist Church. The Unitarian congregation of Savannah finally bought the church back in 1997, and it is a Unitarian church today!

This is a church downtown known most commonly as the Jingle Bells church. It’s evidently a very popular sight to see on tours, as I was passed by a walking tour, a Segway tour (yes, we have Segway tours in Savannah), a carriage tour, and a couple of trolley tours while I was drawing this church. It’s not surprising, as it is a fairly unusual building appearance-wise. Aside from its castle-esque facade, it’s entirely a pale pink color and composed of unusually large blocks (or at least it appears to be). One of the tour guides remarked that the colorful blocks made her think the building might be made of Legos! 

It was built in 1851 by John Norris on Oglethorpe square as a gift to Savannah’s Unitarian congregation from Moses Eastman (a silversmith in New Hampshire). It was the first public building in Savannah that was gas-lit. It gets its nickname from the fact that James Pierpont, the composer of the song Jingle Bells, was the music director and organist there in the 1850s. The church was unfortunately forced to close before the Civil War due to the congregation’s abolitionist leanings.

After the Civil War, the Episcopalian Diocese of Georgia bought the building to be St. Stephen’s Episcopalian Church. It was the first African American Episcopalian parish in Savannah. However, the other residents of Oglethorpe square took offense at this. Thus, the whole building was rolled on logs from Oglethorpe square to Troup Square on Habersham street. It remained this way until 1947, when it became a Southern Baptist Church. The Unitarian congregation of Savannah finally bought the church back in 1997, and it is a Unitarian church today!

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