Church of the Holy Cross, also known as the Holy Cross Episcopal Church, is an historic church in Stateburg, in the High Hills of Santee near Sumter, South Carolina. It is located on land donated earlier by General Thomas Sumter, a resident of Stateburg, and its walls were constructed of rammed earth. Its 2-foot-thick walls were erected in 1852 by using wooden forms to hold local clay as laborers, probably slaves, tamped it down with a special tool, forcing out the water.
Dr. W.W. Alexander, head of the church’s 19th century building committee at the time, had been experimenting successfully with this construction method at his plantation home just across the highway. While the center section is 18th century wooden construction, the two wings were built of rammed earth, or Pise de Terre.
The Church of Holy Cross needed a significant renovation after termites were discovered in the sacristy in 2001. The $1.6 million restoration, paid for in part with a $250,000 Save America’s Treasures grant, replaced major sections of the termite-damaged trusses and roof panels, as well as the floor panels.