Christian Scientists sell historic church to USC, buy clinic near Main Street
First Church of Christ, Scientist has sold its historic church on Pickens Street to the University of South Carolina and purchased a former medical clinic at the corner of Laurel and Pickens street in Columbia’s Robert Mills Historic District.
The church’s new building has been gutted and will be used as a church and Christian Science reading room, said church clerk and treasurer Colleen Wuchenich. Some of the building will be rented to another tenant, she said.
“We love the location,” Wuchenich said. “It’s a beautiful setting.”
The clinic building is near Columbia’s Historic Homes and surrounded by antebellum houses, many now law and professional offices, that survived the fire that burned much of downtown Columbia during the Civil War.
The church purchased the former clinic at 1520 Laurel St. for $750,000 from Prisma Health, formerly Palmetto Health, according to property transfer records
Prisma spokeswoman Shalama Jackson said the health system did not operate the clinic, but rented it to another medical firm. She said it has not been used for several years.
Neighbors said the last tenant of the building was Richland Primary Health Care.
The USC Development Foundation purchased the white-columned, 1920s church at 1114 Pickens St. for $750,000, according to property transfer records.
Foundation president and CEO Jason Caskey said the building would be used to house a portion of the USC Law School’s Children’s Law Center.
Wuchenich said the church is presently meeting at 701 Whaley at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday and 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. The congregation should make its transition to the new building at the end of the year, she said.
Christian Science was founded in 1879 and is based on the belief, among others, that prayer, rather than medical treatment, leads to physical healing.