Historic Evansville

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Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church

Trinity United Methodist Church
Trinity United Methodist Church

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a.k.a. Trinity ME Church

216 SE 3rd St, originally 522-524 Upper 3rd St
Evansville, IN 47713

Quick Timeline

1866 Church is built, moves in from old Locust St ME Church
1925-6 Educational building added


North corner of SE 3rd St & Chestnut St
District: Downtown
Latitude: 37.968801812634
Longitude: -87.569977641106
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Architect: Henry Mursinna



site chosen 1860, built 1865-6, finished and dedicated mar 25 1866 Trinity's sanctuary (designed by Henry Mursinna 1866) and educational building (1926) present one of the best preserved historical institutions downtown. The congregation and its leadership rightly regard their care of the buildings as a trust Trinity United Methodist church is located on the corner of Walnut St. and 3rd St. in Downtown Evansville. This beautiful Gothic style church is a product of the Gothic revival of the mid-19th century. Gothic architecture is signified by such characteristics as thin walls with external buttresses, pointed arches, cross-ribbed vaults, and dazzling stained glass. Although Trinity United Methodist does not have cross-ribbed vaults, the existence of buttresses, pointed arches, and other characteristics gives form to the Gothic beauty. As you stand outside this grand church, the first eye-catching spectacle is the facade. The facade consists of two towering spires, one on each side that shoots vertically into the air. The vertical facade, as well as the sheer verticality of the church was used by most European Gothic churches. A common belief during this time period was "the taller the church, the closer to God." As a result these facades lend themselves nicely to this belief. In choosing a twin spire facade, the architect separates the design for Trinity from the traditional American (Protestant) Gothic revival church which called for a single frontal spire. Directly in between the two spires is an enormous pointed arch scaling three-fourths of the building and half its width. The bottom one-third of the arch consists of three smaller arches that lead on into the interior of the church. The upper two-thirds consists of an array of arches and brilliant stained glass windows. The pointed arch is an important piece in Gothic churches. Not only does the pointed arch add more vertical space than a rounded arch, but it also symbolically points upward toward heaven. This signifies the direction in which the church is going, and it connects heaven with the church itself. The three smaller arches at the bottom of the large arch serve as the entrance to the church. Recessing facades (as the one used in Trinity) are used to signify passing through the earthly world and into a realm of heaven as you enter into the church. This brings the churchgoer to a state of worship, praise, and awe. Inside Trinity you notice the representation of the simplified basilica in the floor plan. Before the Christian church, the Romans used the basilicas as judgment halls. This emphasis on judgment is the main reason for Trinity's use of the plan. Through the facade you enter into the narthex, or waiting area. Directly following the narthex, moving through the center of the basilica is an open nave with a side aisle on either side. The nave is the area in which the congregation sits for worship during service. Arcades separated the side aisles from the nave in the ancient Roman Basilica of Constantine and typical Roman and early Christian basilicas. Trinity does not have anything that signifies a side aisle. The layout is simply a large nave with a clerestory in the side of the building. The only evidence of side aisles would be the area underneath the upper row of seating down to the side of the pews that serves as a walking aisle. As you look at the side of the nave you will see the clerestory, which is the row of stained glass windows. The stained glass plays a significant role in the presentation of the church. On sunny days when the light would pour in through these windows, it would produce an array of colorful light that was perceived as the jewel-like light of heaven. When looking at the stained glass windows inside an arcade of pointed arches, it seems there is not enough wall material to hold up the ceiling. The illusion of physical impossibilities was characteristic of many Gothic churches. Tall clerestories with thin walls give the illusion that only by a miracle of God could the walls or ceiling remain standing. This illusion is created by the addition of flying buttresses and pillars. On the outside of Trinity, between each arch of stained glass, is a pillar that is attached to the side of the church. These pillars function as buttresses to help hold up the skeleton of Trinity, allowing for more clerestory space. At the end of the nave is where the preacher delivers his sermon. In most basilica churches an apse (a semicircle that protrudes away from the nave) would be located here, but Trinity shows off a beautiful pipe organ, instead. While Gothic architecture was not meant to be seen from above, a birds-eye view of Trinity shows the cruciform shape that is formed. The transepts are added on to basilicas dating from the early Christian times for two reasons: to open up the church and to take the form of the cross. Trinity United Methodist Church does not actually use these transept areas for their worship services, but they are used by people working there. Although Trinity's interior is small in comparison to some European models, it is immensely impressive. Most viewers are awestruck by its vast spaces, soaring forms, and the richness of the stained glass. Trinity 1 Trinity Facade Trinity Glass Trinity Glass 2 224 Trinity ME Church Methodist Corner 3rd and Chestnut Streets 1866 - 1910 3rd bought lots 1860 third and chestnut church gothic revival designed by henry mursinna & boyd sunday school and lecture hall in rear new church hall built on ne side after houses razed 1925 constructed 1925-6 tudor revival new parsonage 1965 police station torn down c1970 for additional

See also

Press article - history (1/8/1966)
Press article - Trinity plans for centennial (1/23/1966) Churches / Religion Downtown district

Research notes

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