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Cypress Methodist Campground — Ridgeville, South Carolina


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Cypress Methodist Campground

Cypress Methodist Campground in the rural Dorchester County community of Ridgeville is a United Methodist revival camp with a heritage that dates back to the country’s first Methodist bishop, Francis Asbury. The site originated in 1794 during the Great Awakening religious movement, and its churchyard includes the graves of some of the area’s early settlers.

Cypress Campground Ridgeville

Darrell Parker of North Charleston, 2008 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Bishop Asbury stopped and preached to the crowd of people who had gathered here on his circuit, or route, which was how the Methodist Church once conducted services in rural places. His 1794 journal states that he “Rode to Cypress, where I could not rest without giving them a little sermon.” Campsites such as this one formed because worshipers would stay in tents for days to experience the revitalizing preaching while also enjoying a sense of community.

Cypress Campground

Darrell Parker of North Charleston, 2006 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Though tents were eventually replaced by hewn cabins, the term “tent” still applies to the 53 structures that surround the covered tabernacle where people congregate for worship service. Cypress Campground began with 34 permanent tents and has since grown to 53. They are all of similar structure, most consisting of one-and-a-half story buildings with sleeping space, a small dining room, a fireplace, and earthen floors.

Cypress Campground Fire

Darrell Parker of North Charleston, 2008 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

In April of 2008 a fire that officials suspect was arson destroyed five tents and damaged a sixth. Sadly, another fire burned eight more tents just a month later. The tents, owned by families and passed down through generations, have been rebuilt.

Cypress Campground Tent

Darrell Parker of North Charleston, 2008 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Camp meetings at Cypress remain a popular way for nearby Methodists to gather and experience fellowship in a community that, for a week each October, holds few outside distractions. A similar site, Indian Field Campground, exists in nearby St. George.

Cypress Methodist Church

Ted Jennings of Summerville, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

When camp meetings are not taking place, a white church of block construction sits within the boundary of the tents. Churchgoers gather in this building every week, which was constructed in the 1940s and replaced an earlier structure.

Snowfall 2018 – Cypress Methodist Campground


Snowfall in the Lowcountry of South Carolina is a rare sight. On occasion, we may have small flurries, but it not common to see more than an inch of snow for any substantial period of time. In January of 2018, snow blanketed most of the state, reaching 10 inches in places and lasting for nearly a week. Photographer Ginger Parker shares some beautiful images of Cypress Methodist Campground during this rare Lowcountry snowfall.

Cypress Methodist Campground

Ginger Parker of Orangeburg, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cypress Methodist Campground

Ginger Parker of Orangeburg, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cypress Methodist Campground

Ginger Parker of Orangeburg, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cypress Methodist Campground

Ginger Parker of Orangeburg, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cypress Methodist Campground

Ginger Parker of Orangeburg, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cypress Methodist Campground

Ginger Parker of Orangeburg, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cypress Methodist Campground Snowy Approach

Ginger Parker of Orangeburg, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cypress Methodist Campground is listed in the National Register:

Cypress Methodist Camp Ground is one of only a few campgrounds in South Carolina which, up until the time of its nomination, continues to host annual week-long camp meetings—a vestige of the Great Awakening in American religious life in the nineteenth century. Cypress is significant for its association with Francis Asbury, pioneer of American Methodism, and for its long, uninterrupted use as a site of revivalism for almost 200 years. The campground is in the general shape of a rectangle of 34 tents, or cabins, made of rough-hewn lumber. These cabins, rectangular shaped, are generally 1½ stories and contain earthen floors.

The typical floor plan features a hall extending the length of the cabin with as many as three rooms on the opposite side. The second story is accessible by a small stairway or ladder. In the center of the rectangle is the tabernacle, an open-sided wooden structure that is the focal point of these revival meetings. Serving crowds too large for church buildings or homes, the campground responded to both religious and social needs. The tents allowed people to stay overnight, and the campground term remained even though tents were gradually replaced by the current rough-hewn cabins. Cypress Camp Ground was functional as early as 1794, and an adjacent cemetery contains graves from the early 1800s.

Other Early Campgrounds in South Carolina


Rudd Branch Cemetery – Lebanon


Rudd Branch Cemetery, located in the adjacent community of Lebanon, serves as the resting place for many who worshipped alongside their friends and family at Cypress Methodist Campground. The campground has historically been supported by five local communities: Givhans, Lebanon, New Hope, Ridgeville, and Zion. A list of internments can be found here.

Rudd Branch Cemetery

Ginger Parker of Orangeburg, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Rudd Branch Cemetery

Ginger Parker of Orangeburg, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cypress Methodist Campground Info


Address: South Carolina Road 18-182, Ridgeville, SC 29472
GPS Coordinates: 33.103485,-80.273413

Cypress Methodist Campground Map

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9 Comments about Cypress Methodist Campground

Linda Googe says:
August 9th, 2018 at 8:45 am

This place is absolutely beautiful! I would love to have information regarding future gatherings, if possible. Thank you to all of the present generations for keeping this fellowship going.

SCIWAY says:
February 3rd, 2018 at 7:32 am

These tents, as they’re called, have typically been owned by the same families since the beginning. Guests of camp meets are usually by invite only but they’re often very welcoming. We would recommend reaching out to the church directly, their phone number is 843-871-1287. Thank you!

annie comans says:
February 2nd, 2018 at 9:01 pm

Can anyone come to these camp meetings or do you have to be a member? What are the dates for this camp? Please send me an email. Thank you.

SCIWAY says:
May 13th, 2017 at 11:30 pm

Wow, we can only imagine how wonderful that must have been! Thanks for sharing your personal experience with us!

Pastor Lemuel Griggs says:
May 13th, 2017 at 12:42 pm

I was pleased to lead the singing for the Cypress Camp meeting in 1987 or 1988. We had a wonderful time and met a lot of great folks. One of the highlights of my life. I will always remember this.

Lucinda Robertson says:
November 29th, 2016 at 1:25 pm

I would like some more information about Cypress Methodist camp ground. Thank you.

Sarah Duckett says:
October 25th, 2016 at 6:28 pm

I would like more information with dates for this event for my church to visit in 2017. Some friends visited now have my interest. Thank you.

Lucinda Robertson says:
October 23rd, 2016 at 5:17 pm

Will you please send me some information about camp meeting for next year please.

Teresa Owen Hinnant says:
October 19th, 2015 at 6:29 pm

Cypress Campground outside of Ridgeville begins camp meeting tomorrow for a week full of lots of preaching, fellowship, and of course, lots of "good" food!! Keep us in your prayers for a wonderful camp meeting experience.




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