This church, founded in 1866, was one of the first separate African-American congregations established in Columbia after the Civil War. It met in buildings on Wayne St., at Lincoln & Hampton Sts., and at Sumter & Hampton Sts. before acquiring this site. This sanctuary, a Romanesque Revival design, was built in 1921 and was designed by noted black architect John Anderson Lankford (1874-1946).
John Anderson Lankford, one of the first registered black architects in the U.S., was later supervising architect of the A.M.E. Church. Bethel was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. In 1995 its congregation moved to the former Shandon Baptist Church on Woodrow St. In 2008 the Renaissance Foundation began restoring the historic church as a cultural arts center.