Trinity Episcopal Church
Amos A. Lawrence sent a box of church school books and a letter of support in response to a plea from Englishman Samuel Reynolds to recognize the need for an Episcopal church in Lawrence.
In the spring of 1857, the Herald of Freedom, one of Lawrence’s early newspapers, in the issues of April 3 and April 10 carried this notice: “Meeting announced for April 5th at 7 ½ o’clock to organize a parish. Meeting at office of Whitman and Searl.” On April 17, in the same newspaper appeared this item: “First parish meeting of the Episcopalians, 7:00 P.M – wardens and vestry elected.” The only evidence found of any follow-up of this action was the purchase for $500 of lot 95 on Vermont Street, near the corner of Vermont and Berkeley streets, the latter now 10th Street.
By 1858, Samuel’s brother, the Rev. Charles Reynolds, left his parish in Columbus, Ohio, to become the first rector of Trinity Church in Lawrence. On July 29, 1859, Bishop Jackson Kemper consecrated the first church building.
In November 1863, the Rev. Robert W. Oliver met with church leaders to review the status of plans for establishing a university in Lawrence. The Rev. Oliver succeeded Reynolds as Rector, and in 1865 became the first chancellor of the University of Kansas, and led the building of North College Hall, which opened to 55 students on Sept. 16, 1866.
From these early beginnings, Trinity went on to expand with a new church building that opened Easter, 1873. The original church building built in 1859 served as a chapel and parish hall.
In April 1955, Trinity Church was completely gutted by fire. The beautiful walnut interior and nearly all stained glass windows were destroyed. Church members undertook the challenge to rebuild this historical church, and in March 1956 the restored building was rededicated. In the early 1970s, the original 1859 church building was razed, making way for a new parish hall, classrooms and offices.
In the late 1980s, Trinity helped plan and initiate St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, the second Episcopal parish in Lawrence.
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