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New Prospect Baptist Church celebrates 200th Anniversary

New Prospect Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in upper Spartanburg County, will observe the 200th Anniversary of its founding on June 3, 2020.

The church was established near the intersection of Highway 9 called Mills Gap Road, and Highway 11 called Tugaloo Road on June 3, 1820. A small group of settlers met in a log building until a church was constructed in 1837. The existing church building was completed in 1984 following a devastating fire that destroyed the church sanctuary in March 1983. This was the second church building to be destroyed by fire.

Church member and historian June McManus Gardner has written a history of the New Prospect Baptist Church, the schools, and the community. Called The Gold at New Prospect– The Church at the Crossroads, this informative book contains lots of information about the early history of New Prospect and the founding of schools in New Prospect.

To mark the official date of the founding of the church, a historical marker approved by the SC Department of Archives and History will be dedicated on June 7, 2020, following the morning church service.

The marker reads in part, “The congregation of New Prospect Baptist Church formally organized on June 3, 1820 with a membership of twenty-six.“ It will be placed near the site of the original log church along Highway 9.

The church has several activities planned during the year to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the church. A formal celebration, service and dinner on the grounds will be held on August 30, 2020. Due to the current health situation, the celebration was moved from the originally scheduled date of June 7.

Submitted by Cathy C. McMillan