Category Archives: Historic

Abel Buell in the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress, the world’s biggest library has mounted an ongoing exhibition on Trinity Member Abel Buell beginning in November 11, 2013, Mapping a New Nation: Abel Buell’s Map of the United States, 1784

History - Amos Buell in the LOC building layoutAbel Buell is honored on the North Gallery, First Floor, to the left of the entrance of the Thomas Jefferson Building.  According to the site:

“Abel Buell’s New and Correct Map of the United States of North America is the first map of the newly independent United States compiled, printed, and published in America by an American. This important early American map is known to exist in only seven copies. Philanthropist David M. Rubenstein has generously placed his copy of the map at the Library.”

Take a photo-tour of the Thomas Jefferson Building’s exterior.  If you go to Washington D.C., visit the library and see the Buell exhibit.  The exhibit is located to the left of the main entrance in the Great Hall North area.



Historic Stenciling Project

This unique Historic Stenciling Project has now been completed at Trinity Episcopal Church, New Haven, one of three churches on the New Haven Green, all of which are included in the National Historic Landmark District. This project was supported by grants from The Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and  the National Trust for Historic Preservation, both matched by Trinity Church.

For more, see the Trinity Historic Stenciling Project (with embedded videos) and/or Trinity Historic Stenciling Project, Part Two — or click on the images below, one at a time.

The first presentation focuses on the stenciling work done primarily by parishioners and other New Haveners over the summer of 2014 under the grant from the State of Connecticut Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

Art - Peg Chambers Stenciling powerpoint

The second presentation focuses on the stenciling work done by students from a regional magnet school in New Haven during the fall of 2014 under the grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP).

Part two header 2015-02-18_15-23-15

 This third presentation focuses on the interpretation of the meaning inherent in the visual elements of the uncovered stencil.

Art - Peg Chambers Stenciling powerpoint for May 2105 presentation

Trinity’s Stenciling Project receives Episcopal coverage nationally
in the latest issue of The Historiographer, a publication of the National Episcopal
Historians and Archivists (NEHA).  Peg Chambers, who made the Stenciling Project happen, wrote the article.  Click here to see this article by Peg Chambers. For more information on NEHA, see


Being in a church is about building relationships. Trinity’s many organizations help to make our church a truly vibrant community.

Trinity’s lively and active parish community is led by volunteers who engage with each other through numerous committees, ministries and interest groups. Here are key contacts to guide your search for activities of interest to you.

[table “5” not found /]

See and Hear Trinity!

Trinity has a strong media presence on social media, including over two dozen videos on YouTube, hundreds of photos on Facebook, and various videos and music recordings over the years on associated web sites.  For more original content  videos, photos, and documentaries, see: [DISPLAY_ACURAX_ICONS]

Interview with Rector Luk de Volder

Luk explains the reasons why he and his family moved to New Haven.

Google see inside – on three levels

Visit Trinity on the Green’s interior using the interactive technology of Google Map’s “See inside” on the bright November 2013 opening day of Trinity’s famous Holiday Bazaar.  Three levels of the historic 1814-1816 building may be visited: the Undercroft (the B button), the Nave (1 button), and the Galleries (2 buttons).  The amazing interactive “See inside” was photographed and created by Tony Bacewicz, an experienced professional photographer with video production, writing and reporting skills based in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

STHT - Open door to Trinity Chuch

Nave Panorama

Click on the image below for a panoramic view of Trinity  (it may require a plugin for some browsers). Seth Thompson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Design at the American University of Sharjah in the UAE.  He is “a media artist and writer involved in documenting and interpreting art, design and culture through print and online presentations. His research interests and practice primarily focuses on the interpretation and representation of visual culture and heritage using panoramic imaging and interactive media design.”  His  Sacred Spaces of New England online project features religious and secular places that elicit contemplation, reflection and inspiration.

STHR - Paranama by Seth Thompson Feb 28 2013

The Unseen Becoming Seen: What Sweeter Music

Perhaps the most beautiful time at Trinity is dawn. These jewel-like images, taken by Trinity photographer Joe Dzeda as the dawn rises in the Gothic Church, are set to Trinity’s famous Choir of Men and Boys singing John Rutter’s What Sweeter Music in a video composed by Neil Olsen.

In My Father’s House: What Wondrous Love Is This

Trinity’s Columbarium, a repository for the ashes of the dead, is unusual in many ways – it is beautiful, it is used for healing services, and it is in the nave instead of hidden away. The video is accompanied by the music of Trinity’s Choir of Men and Girls, directed by Walden Moore, singing a capella Christiansen’s What Wondrous Love is This, in a video composed by Neil Olsen, to photographs by Peg Chambers and Neil Olsen.

Trinity Secret Spaces

Come take a walk through the oldest Gothic Revival church in North America, up the bell tower,  and onto the roof for a view of New Haven, Connecticut, that you will never see elsewhere, all set to the sound of the magnificent Aeolean-Skinner organ with photographs by Joe Dzeda.

The Choir of Men and Boys of Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven

Johannes Eccard (1553-1611), “Presentation of Christ in the Temple,” sung by the Trinity Choir of Men and Boys, directed by Walden Moore, Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven, Connecticut, February 2, 2014

Home Board on the Harbor – the Seniors of Trinity

This video is of a 2012 seniors excursion on the Quinnipiack Schooner “There and Back Again.” The Trinity Church Home Board grew out of the Trinity Church Home Association, incorporated by the Connecticut General Assembly in 1862; “created for the purpose of establishing and maintaining in the city of New Haven, refuge for the poor and friendless members of Trinity Parish, and such others as the board of managers may think entitled to its benefits.”  The music is by Trinity’s Spirit Singers, in a video composed by Neil Olsen with photographs by Ruth Risberg.

The Experience: All the Way to Chapel on the Green

Volunteers from Saint Peter’s, Cheshire, CT , came to New Haven to worship and share a meal with the homeless. Ana Arellano arranged the photos by Mallory Naylor and John Andrews perfectly to capture the experience.

History Ministry

Trinity Ministry

Trinity’s own Historical Society

The Trinity History Ministry was formed on December 5, 2011. Comprised of members of Trinity Church and interested people in the wider community of New Haven, Connecticut, it celebrates the role the church has played in the history of the parish, the City of New Haven, the state of Connecticut, and America.

You may contact the group at

Mission Statement

Trinity’s History Ministry seeks to honor and celebrate the history of the community, building, documents, art & artifacts of Trinity Episcopal Church on the Green in New Haven, CT. 

History - Croswell 1938 GravestoneAt a meeting of the society on April 2, 2012, it was decided to change the name to History Ministry @ Trinity Episcopal Church on the Green New Haven. The clean clear Celtic cross style logo for the society is taken from the design on the top of the September 1938 Monument marking the grave of Rev. Dr. Harry Croswell and his family in the Croswell plot at Grove Street Cemetery. It also has five crosses combined on one image, perhaps recalling in a different form  the Jerusalem cross intended to represent the five wounds of Christ. It may be less a modern take on a Celtic cross than an image of Croswell’s name: a cross plus a well. To above left is the tombstone of the Rev. Dr. Harry Croswell. Below right is an image taken from the bottom of the granite stone: it depicts the original impressive monument destroyed in the Hurricane of 1938. The parish replaced the stone with a simpler but hardier stone memorial. However, the committee to replace the stone or the carver got his birth date wrong: he was born in 1778, not 1779 as carved on the tombstone.

History - Close up Harry Croswell Tombestone image

In some sense, our Trinity New Haven Historical Society, like the 1938 committee parish members who funded a replacement of the beloved monument in granite, intend to preserve the past so that it will not be lost in a whirlwind, nor shall our counsel be dark without knowledge for the future.

Mission Statement

Trinity’s Historical Society seeks to honor and celebrate the history of the community, building, and documents of Trinity Episcopal Church on the Green in New Haven, CT.


Under the working name “Project Croswell”, a set of activities under the leadership of Rector Dr. Luk de Volder were launched in 2011 to highlight one of Trinity Church on the Greens great differentiating strengths: its History.

In addition to providing a web site with ever increasing content about the people, places, and times of the parish, it has three active committees.  Committee I will honor Trinity’s history, including celebrating its 200th anniversaries in 2014 (laying of the cornerstone) and 2016 (consecration of the church). Committee II will honor Trinity’s building as a historic landmark in the city of New Haven. Committee III will archive Trinity’s past through its documents.

Links and Resources

Trinity has historically had a close relationship with several organizations dedicated to the preservation of knowledge.

Other sites that hold resources for historical research include:

 Founding Trinity Historical Society Members in 2011

  • Nancy Ahlstrom
  • Al Atherton
  • Sheila Bonenberger
  • Peg Chambers
  • Ray Chappell
  • Carol Davidson
  • Rev. Dr. Luk De Volder
  • Duo Dickinson
  • Joe Dzeda
  • Aldy Edwards
  • Anna Foster
  • Helena Estes
  • Landa Freeman
  • Carl Geffken
  • Jeri Geffken
  • Carolyn Gould
  • Murray Harrison
  • Barbara Lamb
  • Richard J. Mammana, Jr
  • Doris Manseau
  • Neil Olsen
  • Robert Orr
  • Judith Schiff
  • Gaddis Smith
  • Patricia Thurston
  • Sally Vasey
  • Rich Walser

Choir History

Our Tradition of Music

Choir - Academy black and white boys choir circa 1960sFrom the founding of Trinity in 1723, and the completion of the first wooden church in 1753, music has been an important part of its services of worship. By 1776, Trinity was taking the lead in establishing singing as a regular part of all Episcopal services throughout Connecticut.  There are records of an organ subscription being taken at the end of the Revolutionary War.  Trinity’s famous engraver and parishioner Amos Doolittle was one of the first American to engrave books with scores of music.

The Trinity Choir of Men and Boys is the oldest choir in New Haven, having been founded in 1885. It is the seventh oldest such choir in America. The Men and Boys who comprise its membership come from not only the parish but also the entire central Connecticut area. The Men and Boys usually sing at the 11:00 am service and other special parish services, including occasional Evensongs.

Below is a 1954 Recording of Trinity’s Boy Choir singing The Holly and the Ivy. This traditional Christmas carol features tenors Harry Clarke (lead) and Irving Held (harmony) and sopranos David Ragaini (lead) and Paul Berg (harmony).

Below, is the In the Bleak Mid-Winter, from an 1872 poem by Christina Rossetti, and with a 1909 musical setting by Harold Darke, was voted Best Christmas Carol in a 2008 BBC poll of some of the world’s leading choirmasters and choral experts. This version, by the Trinity Church (New Haven, CT.) Choir, was recorded in 1954 with a solo by David Ragaini.

In 1975 the 9:00 service began to incorporate more contemporary music and instruments, including drums, guitars, and rock style music. The Spirit Singers choir evolved out of the “rock band” choir of the late 1970s, expanding by the early 1980s into gospel, contemporary Christian, and popular music, with the congregation often using the Lift Every Voice and Sing hymnal accompanied by piano. They sang the hymns, solos, service music and anthems, for the 9:00 am service, and  every other Sunday in the summer and at special services including the 5:00 Christmas service. In 2012 they were disbanded, ending 37 years of experiment with contemporary music at Trinity.

The Adult Choir was initially created in the 1980s as a place for 11:00 adult parishioners not in the boys choir to sing. In 2012, they were renamed the Parish Choir, merging with members of the disbanded Spirit Singers.

It is fitting that, in a church with such a long tradition of choral leadership by children, the Choir of Men and Girls now takes a prominent place in the worship services of Trinity Church. The choir was founded in the Fall of 2003 comprising members auditioned from all over south-central Connecticut. Girls from grades 5 through 10 form the soprano section of the choir, accompanied by adult alto women, adult tenors and adult basses.

Book Available

Music on the Green, written by well-known historian (and New Haven native) Barbara Owen, details the long and rich history of Trinity’s music program, from 1752 until the present time. This fascinating softbound book of 100 pages covers Trinity’s choirs, choirmasters, organs, and even the church bells in both words and pictures. It can be ordered through the Organ Historical Society by clicking HERE.


Docent Tours

History Ministry Docent Tours –  July 2016

Trinity historians will conduct tours of Trinity each Sunday in July at 11:30 am. Each tour will last about 45 minutes and will begin in the Narthex (entry vestibule). Children are welcome, but need to be accompanied by an adult.

Slider - Summer Docent Led Tour 2015 with Bob SandineEach tour guide will have his/her own focus, but generally these tours of Trinity Church on the New Haven Green will focus on a general history of the building whose cornerstone was set in 1814 with the building completed by the end of 1815 and consecrated in early 1816. The contrast of Trinity’s building style as compared to that of Center Church, both designed by the architect Ithiel Town, will be the springboard to the tour. We will then go inside to see the variety of interior nave (sanctuary) elements from its Tiffany windows to its three distinctive altars.


Sunday, July 3rd Guide:  Ray Chappell
Sunday, July 10th Guide: Ray Chappell
Sunday, July 17th Guide: Joe Dzeda
Sunday, July 24th Guide: Neil Olsen
Sunday, July 31st Guide: Peg Chambers

Note: Docent led tours are offered on a scheduled basis in June and July — see the events calendar for times.  At other times, a tour can be arranged by request.  Contact Peg Chambers, Chair of Trinity History Ministry.

George Washington Plaque

Our Plaque is Back

George Washington Bruce Belmore at Palque Dedication July 4 2015George Washington visited Trinity one week after his first inaugural on April 30, 1789, and worshiped at the First Church, at what is now our side or “Washington altar”.  In 1932, the Daughters of the American Revolution Commemorated this event with a brass plaque.  The plaque was stolen in 2011, but it was found! On July 4, 2015 there was a re-dedication ceremony to put the plaque back where it belongs — at the location of the First Trinity Church at 91 Church Street.

Here is the New Haven Register article “Plaque citing George Washington’s visit rededicated at original Trinity Episcopal site in New Haven” on the dedication ceremony, including pictures of Bruce Belmore as George Washington.

Here are two newspaper articles on the amazing story of it recovery.  George Washington was Rescued here from the New Haven Independent, and Historic evidence that George Washington visited New Haven rescued, with help from modern technology from the New Haven Register.  Below is the announcement of the Re-dedication event.

Invitation Flyer for the George Washington Plaque scanned



The first English-speaking parish in America, St. John’s Church in Hampton Virginia, is founded in 1610.