Built in 1818, possibly by William Jay—scholars are unsure of the scope of his involvement—Independent Presbyterian Church (207 Bull St., 912/236-3346, www.ipcsav.org , Sunday service 11 a.m., Wednesday service noon) is called the “mother of Georgia Presbyterianism.”
A fire destroyed most of Independent Presbyterian’s original structure in 1889, but the subsequent rebuilding was a very faithful rendering of the original design, based on London’s St. Martin in the Fields. The marble baptism font survived the fire and is still used today. Note also the huge mahogany pulpit, another original feature. The church’s steeple made a cameo appearance in Forrest Gump as a white feather floated by.
Lowell Mason, composer of the hymn “Nearer My God to Thee,” was organist at Independent Presbyterian. In 1885 President Woodrow Wilson married local parishioner Ellen Louise Axson in the manse to the rear of the church. Presiding was her grandfather, minister at the time. During the Great Awakening in 1896, almost 3,000 people jammed the sanctuary to hear famous evangelist D. L. Moody preach. Call ahead for a tour.