201 East White Street
Rock Hill City Directories: 1920-1925- Miss Margaret Biggars,(Principal, Highland Park School), (Directories between 1908 until 1933 do not list the church on East White Street. The first listing at 201 East White was in 1938.) 1938-2012 – First ARP Church.
FIRST ASSOCIATE REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
This church began as a mission work in the summer of 1895 when Arthur Small Rogers, a seminary student at Erskine Theological Seminary, was sent to Rock Hill to hold services. The rural areas around Rock Hill had a number of Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Churches dating back to the 1700s, but two previous efforts to organize the church’s members in Rock Hill had been unsuccessful. Rogers arrived on July 4 and began holding services in Armory Hall on Main Street. From the beginning the new work was a success. Arthur Rogers returned to the Seminary in the fall to complete his education, and area ARP ministers preached during the winter of 1895-96. The congregation was organized on November 19, 1895 with 26 charter members. Arthur Rogers returned following his graduation from the Seminary and was installed as minister. He immediately began raising funds for a church building, both locally and throughout the ARP denomination. In 1896, a lot was purchased on White Street from Mrs. Ann White and A. H. White. The site, now on the corner of East White Street and Oakland Avenue, had been part of the White family’s apple orchard. The architect selected for the building was C. C. Hook of Charlotte. Construction on the sanctuary was begun in 1897 and completed in the spring of 1898. The brick sanctuary building features a dominant bell tower at left front with a smaller tower at right front and a polygonal projecting wing in the center. The left tower has a spire with finial, rounded arch openings, and tall paired traceried windows with granite lintels and sills. There are matching rose windows in the front-facing gable and the side gables.
The 1898 sanctuary continues to serve the congregation today. There was an addition to the rear in 1911 which enlarged the auditorium, added space for a pipe organ and small classrooms, and changed the ceiling design. (This addition is credited to local architect Julian S. Starr, Sr. at a cost of $6,000.). In 1929, a three-story educational building was added to the east. This building was enlarged in 1964. In the early 1990s, a gym was added and an adjacent furniture store was acquired and renovated to become a new activities and education building.
Rev. Arthur S. Rogers was pastor of the church from the first meeting in 1895 until his retirement in 1948. Subsequent senior ministers have been Rev. William Pressly Grier, Jr., Rev. Henry Lewis Smith, Dr. Robert J. Robinson, and Dr. J. Barry Dagenhart. [Paul M. Gettys 9/1/2011]