Old Trinity Church
Old Trinity church was founded by a small group of prominent Owensboro citizens in 1875. Old Trinity Episcopal Church serves as a good example Medieval, Lancet-style architecture that was popular in the United States in the 1800's. Since 1973, the building has been home to the Owensboro Theater Workshop. Old Trinity Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
Backstory and Context
Old Trinity Church was founded by a small Episcopalian congregation of about a dozen members in 1875. Before the church was built, the congregation met at the Masonic Hall, Dr. Henry MeGill’s Drugstore building, and eventually a carpentry shop between Fifth and Sixth street. The parish was officially organized on June 12, 1852. The building was the first brick church in Owensboro and, with its steep roof and tower, it is the oldest example of a Gothic style church in Western Kentucky.
Despite having a historically small congregation, the original charter of the Old Trinity Church list many members of note. Daniel M. Griffith and Dr. Charles H. Todd were among the prominent members of the church. Griffith was the son of William R. Griffith, Owensboro’s first County Clerk, and husband of Virginia Shelby Todd, granddaughter of Governor Isaac Shelby. Todd was the youngest son of Charles S. Todd, who served as the chief of staff for General William Henry Harrison during the War of 1812, and was also a grandson of Governor Isaac Shelby.
Old Trinity Episcopal Church serves as a good example of 13th century, Lancet-style construction that had a major influence on United States architecture in the 1800's. The church is laid out in the Classic Anglican design of a nave, chancel, and sanctuary. The choir loft was in the rear of the building, over the front door. At one time, the church was lit with gas light fixtures situated on the walls. The stained glass window above the choir balcony was designed and executed by Charles Stewart Todd, and was dedicated on April 28, 1946. The 19th century glass from the four Gothic style windows on the right side of the building were removed for safekeeping in 1965, and unfortunately were accidentally discarded soon after.
In 1953, due to overcrowding and the need for structural improvements, the vestry voted to purchase land on Ford Avenue for the construction of a new parish hall. From 1964 to 1973, the building was used by Cliff Hagan’s Boys Club. Since 1973, Old Trinity Church has been the home of the Theater Workshop of Owensboro. In 1999, the church underwent renovations to allow more theater productions. According to local folklore, the site is one of the most haunted locations in Owensboro.
History of Daviess County, Kentucky. McDowell Publications, 1883.
Coppick, Glendon C.. The Legacy of Trinity Episcopal Church (Owensboro, Kentucky 1852 - 2000). McDowell Publications.
Robertson, Joan. A History of Trinity Episcopal Church (Owensboro, Kentucky 1952 - 2002).
Charles Minion Collection
Hubert McFarland Collection
Hubert McFarland Collection