The Gothic Church

 On the Green “in the Gothic Stile”

Architecture - New Haven, Conn. Comprising a View of the Episcopal and Presbyterian Churches 1831 CROPPEDThe earliest records of the intent to build a second church are recorded in notes from Vestry meeting held October 20, 1810, at the home of Mr. John H. Jacocks. A site on the town Green was secured at a town meeting on December 14, 1812. Ithiel Town was selected as the architect. He designed the building in 1813. In the Connecticut Journal newspaper on January 31, 1814, the Trinity Episcopal Society of New Haven placed an advertisement “To Builders”, notifying them that “Proposals will be received by the subscriber until the 14th of February next, for the building of an Episcopal Church in this city…The building will be in the Common rock stone [New Haven Trap Rock] and built in the Gothic stile.” Those who wanted to place a bid could “see the Plan or draft” kept in the New Haven store of William McCracken, a member of the building Committee, who would only accept proposals “in writing and under sealed covers.” Funding was raised by five year pew rentals sold out swiftly; hence the distinctive closed doors on the pews that indicated possession.

The cornerstone was laid on May 17, 1814, in a service that included a sermon by Bishop Samuel Jarvis in a special “form of prayer composed for that Occasion” that included laying a plate under the cornerstone. Work on the church was completed in 1816 and it was consecrated on February 21, 1816 in ceremonies that extended over three days and included the a sermon by Bishop John Henry Hobart, the institution of Mr. Croswell as rector with a sermon by Bishop Philander Chase, and the confirmation of 107 persons, while about 3000 persons attended the ceremonies in a building that could only seat 1400 persons. Attached to the publication of Bishop Hobart’s Sermon was a “Description of the building lately erected for public worship, by Trinity Church, in the city of New-Haven; by Mr. Ithiel town, Architect”. Town notes that, “The Gothic style of architecture has been chosen and adhered to in the erection of this Church, as being in some respects more appropriate, and better suited to the solemn purposes of religious worship.” Harry Croswell will attribute much of his success in growing his church to its splendid architecture.

From Exile to the New Haven Green

Architecture - New Haven Green by Barber circa 1856 History and Antiquities of New Haven, ConnThis popular 1831 color print shows the “East view of the public square or green in New Haven, Connecticut“.  It was created by John Warner Barber (John Warner, 1798-1885) and is a color enhanced version of a print that hangs on the wall of Trinity’s Parish office today.  It depicts a scene at the height of the rector-ship of Rev. Dr. Harry Croswell, whom you could easily imagine as the figure strolling on the Green with his long tall strides and green umbrella towards the church. The Green has a rich history going back to 1641 when New Haven was laid out in a grid with nine-squares under the supervision of the settlers’ surveyor, John Brockett, he central section of the plan was reserved as a market place with the meetinghouse in its center; this plan has guided the history and development of the Green — and impacted the development of Trinity Church; it has the right only to the width of two Oxcarts of land around the circumference of the Church which limits what changes can be made to the Church. The Green is managed by The Committee of the Proprietors of Common and Undivided Lands at New Haven, a self-electing body of five people elected for life. For more on the Green and its History see Not a Park or Mere Pleasure Ground: a Case Study of the New Haven Green: by James Sexton.

Trinity Episcopal Church on the Green is the most unusual of the three churches on New Haven‘s carefully designed  Federal period town Green. The building was designed by Ithiel Town, the same architect who designed Center Church on the Green, and a decade later would design what is now Hartford’s Christ Church Cathedral and St. Paul’s, in Troy New York (see below). It is the first American Gothic Revival Style church, a style based on the English Gothic Style or architecture.  In fact, it is both the first neo-Gothic church in North America, and the oldest existing neo-Gothic church as well.

Architecture - New Haven Green by Doolittle in 1825 -2To the left is the earlier “A Perspective View of the Three Houses for Public Worship on the Public Square, New Haven”, a hand-colored engraving attributed to Amos Doolittle, circa 1825; it is found in the collections of the New Haven Museum. Note the newly planted Elm trees, and the wooden fence completed in 1800.  Amos Doolittle (1754-1832) was a New Haven silversmith and copper engraver; he made a number of etchings and maps of people and places, but is most famous for his four engravings of the events of April 19, 1774 and the battles of Lexington and Concord that opened the Revolutionary War.

Trinity was the first of the five structures built on the Green in the early nineteenth century. Though built in quite a different Federalist architectural style, its architect Ithiel Town would go on to build Center Church in the Federalist Style and the Court House in the Greek Revival style, and his assistant/builder/architect David Hoadley, who was the builder for Trinity, would design and build the United “North” Church in the Federalist Style. Trinity Church was the first of the three churches built on the Green in the decade of 1710-1720.  A Methodist church was built on the Green the next decade, but was later rebuilt just across from the Green and is now the “First & Summerfield United Methodist Church” on the corner of Elm and College streets. This has created a unique space in American cities: a town center space dominated by churches. It comes at a cost, as restrictions on building on the historic Green limit what the parish can do to within “two ox carts” from the outside wall of the church — about 3.8 meters or 12.4 feet. Parking is limited, and parish offices and schoolrooms are limited to the few interior rooms. For how Trinity parish addressed this limitation in the 1960s by going under grounder almost to the water table, see the Trinity’s Big Dig.

Architecture - New Haven, Conn. Comprising a View of the Episcopal and Presbyterian Churches, Statehouse and Yale College, hand-colored engraving by Illman and Pilbrow, New York, 1831On the right is an engraving titled “New Haven, Conn. Comprising a View of the Episcopal and Presbyterian Churches, Statehouse and Yale College”. It is a hand-colored engraving by Illman and Pilbrow, New York, 1831, from the collection of the New Haven Museum. The perspective highlights the original Trinity Church, and shows behind it the then newly built Greek Revival Style State House as well as the other two Federal Style churches northward along the Green. Note the wooden fences with the cows on the green, and the battlement decorations along the cornice. Directly in front of Trinity Church is the “sign post”, which was also used as a public whipping post up until 1825; you can also see the public well on the corner of Church and Temple.  At some point in the twentieth century, Chapel street was widened and one traffic lane taken off the outside edges of the Green, bringing the street (and its noise and fumes) 12 feet closer to the church. In addition, a decision was made by the city fathers to make the Green the bus hub for transit between the city and its suburbs – rather as if you put The Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City outdoors and in the middle of Central Park. There is much talk today of rectifying the mistakes of the past, and restoring the Green as a park and place for worship, commerce, and play.

1814-1816 Trinity Trap Rock Church

Architecture - Trinity Church c1820 by DoolittleTo the left is the earliest extent image of the second Trinity Episcopal Church in New Haven. It is taken from an 1817 “Engraving of Trinity Church”, possibly by Amos Doolittle, from the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery. The United States was at war with Great Britain at the time of its building in 1814; the Church had to get permission from British Commander Hardy, whose fleet was blockading New Haven, to float the great wooden beams down the Connecticut River across the sound and into New Haven Harbor.  Commander Hardy reputedly said, “If there is any place on earth that needs religion, it is this New Haven.”  Or words to that effect. The design of the building was probably chosen to highlight the differences with its New Haven Congregationalist neighbors, and to express kinship with the Anglican tradition. The church “was heralded as the first attempt at Gothic in church building in New England, and one of the largest structures for that purpose in America”1 by noted Yale Historian Franklin Bowditch Dexter.

Though it imported its wood, the reddish stone of its exterior is locally quarried seam-faced “trap rock” or diabase from Eli Whitney’s East Rock Quarry in Hamden. According to Ithiel Town’s description, the stone blocks were: “layered with their natural faces out, and so selected and fitted as to form small but irregular joints, which are pointed. These natural faces present various shades of born and iron-rust; and when damp, especially, different shades appear very deep and rich; at the same time conveying to the mind an idea of durability and antiquity, which may be very suitably associated with this style of architecture.”

Diabase is a dark and very strong volcanic rock whose iron weathers to a rusty orange-brown when exposed to the air, giving Trinity Church its distinctive reddish appearance with soft tints of orange and brown. Thus the church tower echoes the tall rock ridges and postpile pillars of the trap-rock mountain range of the Metacomet Ridge that extends from New Haven, north through the Connecticut River Valley to nearly the Vermont border. Some 50,000 cubic feet of rough and hewn stone was used to raise the walls , which are five feet thick at the base.  For more on the stone, see ► Rock of Ages: Trinity’s Trap Rock Exterior.

Some 50,000 cubic feet of rough and hewn stone was used to raise the walls of the original church, which are five feet thick at the base tapering to three feet at the top 38 feet above the ground. The original church was 103 feet long, and 74 feet wide; the original wooden tower at the east or font end is 25 feet square and projects forward half of its size, making the whole length 115.5 feet. The original wooden tower was 100 feet from the base to the upper roof, and capped with four , “frustrums of octagonal pyramids, finished at the top, with a termination, iron-work, and vane to each, making their height 30 feet above the roof of the tower.” There are four other pinnacles, 20 feet high, placed between the pyramids and connected to the corner by a balustrade 7 feet high.

There were five windows on a side, and two at the west or back end which were 26 feet high and 8/1/3 wide. The great west altar window was in five parts topped by a great circle mullion: it contained 1400 panes of glass, and was the greatest window in the United States of its day.

Architecture -Trinity Church interior c1830sSince Rector Henry Whitlock was away traveling for his health, at the building’s cornerstone ceremony Bishop Samuel Jarvis gave an Address, Delivered in the City of New-Haven, at the Laying of the Corner-stone of Trinity Church, May 17, 1814, in which he noted the following about the “Gothick” style church:

“In this view, it is a source of great pleasure, that you, my brethren will set a laudable example to your fellow Christians, by erecting your church according to a mode of architecture, of which, as yet, there is not a perfect and pure specimen through the whole of the American republick. That style of building which is commonly termed Gothick, and which is distinguished by its pointed arches and its slender clustering columns, is peculiarly adapted to sacred uses. The experience of ages has proved, that it tends, wore than any other, to fill men with awe and reverence, to repress the tumult of unreflecting gaiety, and to render the mind sedate and solemn. Whatever tends in any degree to make men serious and devout when they approach the Divine Majesty, is an auxiliary to his service; and the providing that which products this effect in the greatest degree, is an act by which we doubtless honour and glorify our Maker.”

He liked the church so much that he would later be buried under its altar.

The church was not only one of the largest churches in America in its day, it seems that Trinity Church on the Green was the first Gothic Revival style church built in America, and, in fact, the earliest Gothic Revival Church in all of North America. Note the image to the right of Trinity Church in 1816; the interior is quote different from today, in the style of the pews, the missing chancel, the windows, and even the vaulting arches.  It had clear windows and may have been painted white. Note that all the texts claim this is an 18 inch interior, you can see what appears to be a memorial to Mary. Wooster Ogden, who died in 1839 on the south wall of Trinity Church.

1828 Three Ithiel Town Buildings on the Green, and Two by Hoadly

Architecture - The Gothic Church colored 72 dpi web 960x630This image is a recently hand colored steel engraving titled “Gothic Church (Newhaven)”.  It was engraved by T. Turnbull after a picture by William Henry Bartlett (1809–1854), and was published in American Scenery in 1840. Though the building in the foreground is actually the Old State House, and the one near the center is the back of Center Church. This picture shows Ithiel Town’s mastery of all the three styles of Architecture that he promoted in the first part of the nineteenth century: Federal, Gothic Revival, and Greek Revival, all next to each other on New Haven’s Green.

New Haven was a co-capital with Hartford for 172 years, from in 1701 to 1873. The state house or “Court House” in the print was erected in 1828; it was designed by Ithiel Town in a Greek Revival style after the Temple of Theseus. The state court was located on the first floor: it was here that the Amistad trial was held by Judge Andrew Judson of U.S. District Court in 1840.

Architecture - Preparing-to-demolishBut by 1783 the need for a one administrative city for the state government meant there had to be a single capital, and New Haven and Hartford began a bitter rivalry for the honor. Hartford offered 500,000 towards a new State Capital building, and in a close vote, the state’s voters selected Hartford — eventually corruption and politics led to a cost overrun for the State Capital from $1,000,000 to over $2,500,000 — making the move a net loss of 1 million.

Architecture - State-house-pulled-downAfter the vote, the building was left to decay. In 1885 the Court of Common Council voted to demolish the old State House. In 1889, the State House was pulled down by yanking out the great columns and causing the building to fall in on itself while 3,000 people watched. The building erected to honor justice and law fell victim to politics and greed. Here are two photographs of the demolition by courtesy of the New Haven Museum. The sad event is described in New Haven – An Illustrated History by Floyd Shumway and Richard Hegel, as “irreplaceable loss.”  Imagine having this architectural and historical gem on the Green today. The text accompanying the pictures on Page 147 describe the fall:

“The demolition of Ithiel Town’s State Capitol behind Center Church on the Green was carried out over the protests of many New Haven citizens.  These remarkable photographs document the fall of the six columns of the north portico.  Seven men turned the windlass connected to the iron cables that passed through holes cut above the east and west columns.  The columns began to crack under the pressure and finally fell forward to the cheers of 3,000 onlookers.”2

The site now holds a few trees and park benches. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, but those who vandalize it commit a kind of cultural suicide. Fortunately the three churches remain on the Green as emblems of the past, as worship spaces for the present, and a hope for the future. And thanks the continuing support of the people of New Haven, two of Ithiel Towns’ designs remain to inspire us all.

The Mattatuck Historical Society claims that architect David Hoadley helped Ithiel Town with the design of Trinity Church. Hoadly also built the “North Church” on the Green, what is now United Church, and the Congregational Church on the Green in Orange Connecticut.

A Twin Church in Troy New York

Architecture - St Paul's Troy New YorkSt. Paul’s Episcopal Church in the Hudson River town of Troy, New York resembles Town’s Trinity Church in except that it was built using a different type of stone of a different color. In fact, the building contract specified that the new church was to be a copy of Ithiel Town’s Trinity Church in New Haven. The major difference with the original Trinity is that Trinity used the dark very hard red trap rock stone from the local Hamden, Connecticut quarry, whereas St. Paul’s used blue-gray limestone quarried in nearby Amsterdam, New York. Ground was broken in 1826, and the church was finished two years later in 1828. It has been suggested that “it now reflects the original appearance of Trinity more than Trinity itself does” since Trinity’s wooden tower has been replaced and the Chancel and two exit towers have been added — though it too lacks some of the early wooden corner  pinnacles and roofline balustrades, which were later taken down from the New Haven original version as well. Like Trinity, it shows the influence of English Gothic style churches and, in its rough surfacing and irregular masonry, a touch of the contemporary Picturesque styling.  The tower is indeed closer to the original Trinity wooden one than Trinity’s current one.

A description of the building highlights the similarities:

“The church itself is rectangular in shape, five bays long by three wide. It is faced in limestone blocks laid in a random ashlar pattern with dressed pilasters at the corners. There are five lancet windows along the south profile and four along the north. Both the west and east facades have three similar windows apiece. A horizontal course connects all the north and south windows at the lancet’s spring. The roofline is marked by a decorated wooden cornice. A hundred-foot-high (30 m) tower rises from 12 feet (4 m) above the main entrance on the western facade. Inside its crenellated top is a 2,200-pound (1,000 kg) bell.”

Also like Trinity, it has windows designed by the Louis Comfort Tiffany company.  Unlike Trinity, it’s altar faces east — the traditional east orientation is favored so that the priest faces the rising sun when celebrating the Eucharist, signifying the Easter resurrection.   Clearly Mr. Town fixed a few things in release 2St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in the Hudson River town of Troy, New York resembles Town’s Trinity Church in except that it was built using a different type of stone of a different color. In fact, the building contract specified that the new church was to be a copy of Ithiel Town’s Trinity Church in New Haven. The major difference with the original Trinity is that Trinity used the dark very hard red trap rock stone from the local Hamden, Connecticut quarry, whereas St. Paul’s used blue-gray limestone quarried in nearby Amsterdam, New York. Ground was broken in 1826, and the church was finished two years later in 1828. It has been suggested that “it now reflects the original appearance of Trinity more than Trinity itself does” since Trinity’s wooden tower has been replaced and the Chancel and two exit towers have been added — though it lacks some of the early wooden corner  pinnacles and roofline balustrade (seen on the image to the right) which were later taken down from the New Haven original version as well. Like Trinity, it shows the influence of English Gothic style churches and, in its rough surfacing and irregular masonry, a touch of the contemporary Picturesque styling.

A description of the building highlights the similarities:

“The church itself is rectangular in shape, five bays long by three wide. It is faced in limestone blocks laid in a random ashlar pattern with dressed pilasters at the corners. There are five lancet windows along the south profile and four along the north. Both the west and east facades have three similar windows apiece. A horizontal course connects all the north and south windows at the lancet’s spring. The roofline is marked by a decorated wooden cornice. A hundred-foot-high (30 m) tower rises from 12 feet (4 m) above the main entrance on the western facade. Inside its crenellated top is a 2,200-pound (1,000 kg) bell.”

Also like Trinity, it has windows designed by the Louis Comfort Tiffany company.  Unlike Trinity, it’s altar faces east — the traditional east orientation is favored so that the priest faces the rising sun when celebrating the Eucharist, signifying the Easter resurrection.   Clearly Mr. Town fixed a few things in release 2.

 1828 A Sister Church and a Rival in Hartford

Architecture - Christ Church HartfordHartford and New Haven in Connecticut indeed had a long rivalry, not just in politics, but in education and religion. There was a attempt between 1716 to 1719 to move Yale to Wethersfield, Connecticut.  Trinity College was originally known as Washington College, and Rev. Harry Croswell was one of its founders in 1823, but it moved to Hartford, and changed its name as in 1845. The state capital was moved from New Haven as a co capital in 1873.  In 1919, Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford, was established by the annual convention of 1919 as the cathedral church of the diocese of Connecticut.

Designed by the remarkable Ithiel Town, Christ Church, though now a Cathedral, the church building is actually smaller than Trinity Church, but it has external buttresses as an extra outside ornament, giving it more of a neo-Gothic look. Due to its elevation in 1919, it is the oldest Gothic revival Cathedral in America, while Trinity remains the oldest Gothic Revival church in the United States.

For a discussion of Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven, its the use of the Gothic style, and the style of other early Gothic churches, see Temples of Grace: The Material Transformation of Connecticut’s Churches, 1790-1840 (2003), an award winning book by Gretchen Buggeln (see pages 110-124).

Architecture in Motion

Nineteenth Century

Hartford and New Haven in Connecticut indeed had a long rivalry, not just in politics, but in education and religion. There was a attempt between 1716 to 1719 to move Yale to Wethersfield, Connecticut.  Trinity College was originally known as Washington College, and Rev. Harry Croswell was one of its founders in 1823, but it moved to Hartford, and changed its name as in 1845. The state capital was moved from New Haven as a co capital in 1873.  In 1919, Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford, was established by the annual convention of 1919 as the cathedral church of the diocese of Connecticut.

Designed by the remarkable Ithiel Town, Christ Church, though now a Cathedral, the church building is actually smaller than Trinity Church, but it has external buttresses as an extra outside ornament, giving it more of a neo-Gothic look. Due to its elevation in 1919, it is the oldest Gothic revival Cathedral in America, while Trinity remains the oldest Gothic Revival church in the United States.

For a discussion of Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven, its the use of the Gothic style, and the style of other early Gothic churches, see Temples of Grace: The Material Transformation of Connecticut’s Churches, 1790-1840 (2003), an award winning book by Gretchen Buggeln.  In particular, see pages 110-124.

Architecture - Photograph (1880s) of Trninity Church New HavenOn the left is a photograph of Trinity Church from the photo collection of the Connecticut Historical Society, with the church framed by the famous New Haven elms: it must date from the 1860s, as it is missing the 1870 pyramid, the date the wooden tower was also replaced by stone. The church has undergone many changes, including replacing the old wooden tower with a stone one, replacing the white interior with the current dark colors and gilt, and adding stained glass windows.

It shows a stone Gothic Revival style church with pointed arch windows. It has a square stone tower with a flat roof adorned with crockets and finials.  Teeth-like crenelations run along the cornice roof line and the tower battlements. Its windows have pointed arches. The leafless trees are New Haven’s famous elms, now lost to disease. The pyramid on top of the tower is gone, along with the color its variegated copper roof added to the tower.

An iron fence with granite posts is in the foreground. A barrel and blocks of stone, probably paving stones or cobblestones are on the sidewalk at the left. Note that there was no Temple Street: the fence bars horse or cart traffic. Where today there is a bus stop, and you are towed for parking on the busy street that leads traffic out of New Haven, then there was a peaceful apron of the church fronting the lower green.

Note that you can still see Ithiel Towns’ Doric Greek Revival State Courthouse on the Green behind the Church.

Stained glass windows were added over the years from 1885 on, replacing the original clear panes set in diamond patterns. In 1884 a chancel at the front (west end) of the church was added, raised up five steps. This addition was certainly in the Gothic tradition, and showed the influence of the Oxford Movement that sought to reemphasize sacramental practices associated with the Roman Catholic tradition. In 1893 the present pulpit was added. In 1895 a beautiful carved marble altar with two kneeling angels and a Chi Ro monogram was presented to the church by a donor.

Twentieth Century

The century began with major repairs, including stell supports for the gallary and roof. The Churchman Magazine on November 10, 1906, (p. 722) printed an article “Repairing Historic Trinity Church, New Haven, Conn.”, and noted that:

“Fifty to seventy thousand dollars are being expended on historic Trinity church, New Haven, Conn. The location of Trinity on the city’s green, with two Congregational neighbors, is unique…For many years the gallery supports have appeared to be defective, and recent examination showed the roof to be in some danger of falling. Since July repairs have been in progress, and it may be February before they will be completed. An unusual framework of steel, somewhat like that of the modern office building, is being put in to support both gallery and roof. A new organ, having parts in chancel and gallery, is to be put in place, and a ceiling in place of a former defective one, will be constructed and then the entire Interior decorated.”

Architecture - Trinity Church with pyramidIn 1912, the stone reredos [decorative backdrop] with its statues surmounted by winged angels was set behind the altar, replacing the dark Victorian wooden one. In 1930 the squat pyramid or “candle snuffer” roof on the tower, seen in the 1716 photograph to the left, was removed. The present Aeolian-Skinner Organ replaced to old one in 1935.

In 1961 and 1962, in an event called The Big Dig, the church was substantially extended by digging out under the church floor to create not a crypt or basement, but a comfortable snug “undercroft” with choir rooms, classrooms, a kitchen, and meeting halls; two-story towers were added to provide exits on the west site of the church and to also add four more rooms to the church; the cost for this extensive change was $500,000 – less than the cost it took in 2011 to add a handicap access elevator to the church.

All through the twentieth century there were changes to bells, windows, choir stalls, pluming, handrail’s, chimes, sound systems, electrical systems, security systems, organ pipes, and a new slate roof.

The Twenty-first Century

Architect -East Window on Snowy NightIn the twenty first century the church building continued its evolution. The tower space had belonged only to bats, bells, and chimes – but in 1999 a room under the bell tower and behind the organ pipes was renovated as an adult education room. An outward shining window was proposed for the east side of the room to visually demonstrate the church’s outreach to the community. Titled “Trinity’s History and Vision”, it was designed by Val Sigstedt. After much clever thought – the education room is painted bright white and great lamps back flood the room at night – the window was installed as part of the 250th celebration of the building of the First Trinity Episcopal Church in 1752.

The center of the window has a number of medallions illustrating Trinity’s rich history and its people. In addition to the image of the first wooden Trinity Church above, there are scenes of a man floating the logs to build the second church down the river, and an image of the “hippie” era communion when the 9:15 service was instituted in the 1970s – note not only the man’s period haircut, but the flowers in the woman’s hair, and the rich pearl texture of the dove.

In the twenty first century the church building continued its evolution. The tower space had belonged only to bats, bells, and chimes – but in 1999 a room under the bell tower and behind the organ pipes was renovated as an adult education room. An outward shining window was proposed to visually demonstrate the church’s outreach to the community. Titled “Trinity’s History and Vision”, it was designed by Val Sigstedt.  After much clever thought – the education room is painted bright white and great lamps back flood the room at night – the window was installed as part of the 250th celebration of the building of the First Trinity Episcopal Church in 1752.  It recalls Mathew 5:14-16 (NIV): You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Today, while other parts of the Green are dark, or lit only by the stark harsh light of streetlamps, the outshining window brings color and life to the busy corner of Temple and Chapel street: the bus drivers and passengers particularly appreciate the bit of light and color as they sit and wait at the bus stop or on the bus in front of the church. steps.

A Columbarium, a permanent resting place for cremated remains in a church, first planned for in the 1930s, was built in 2010. It is a 230 square foot area in the southeast corner of the nave just below the stained glass Tiffany window with the glowing image of Christ on the Road to Emmaus.

Architecture - Trinity Post Card Christmas 2011In 2010 the undercroft was closed and refurnished; at the same time a handicap access elevator was added, requiring the addition of new woodwork in the nave, a new more friendly side entrance on Chapel Street with notice board, a door with clear windows, and a small roof over head. Less visible infrastructure improvements were made: electrical and plumbing systems were overhauled, the sound system became digitized and programmable, the shut-in conference call system was put on the network, and the church installed wireless internet access, as well as a digital projector in the undercroft — and on the web, a virtual church can be viewed in the Walk-throughs, or See Trinity! Hear Trinity! pages.

To the right is a recent photo taken by the late Diana Beardsley (1947 — 2010), who as Church Photographer, contributed many of the photos on this web site; it was used as a Christmas post card in 2011.

Trinity Church may no longer look as if it is propelled by exposed heating pipes as an engine huffing towards salvation, but it is indeed Architecture in motion.

 

1. Dexter, Franklin Bowditch, Papers of the New Haven Colony Historical Society, Volume 9, The Society, 1918 p. 50.

 2. Shumway, Floyd, Hegel, Richard, New Haven, An Illustrated History, Windsor Publications, 1981, p. 147.