[graphic heading] Seattle: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary, National Park Servicer

Trinity Parish Church
Located near the base of First Hill, Trinity Parish Church is one of Seattle's oldest continually meeting congregations and the "Mother Church" of Episcopal mission activities in the city. Formally established on August 14, 1865, as the "unorganized mission" of Trinity Church, the Church's first building was not erected until 1870. As with other western churches of this time, preachers stayed for only a few years and occasionally years would pass between preachers. During this time of inconsistency, the church was still able to develop into an "organized mission," but Trinity Parish did not gain full Episcopal Church status until Rev. George Herbert Watson arrived from New Jersey in 1878. The growing church laid the groundwork for its outreach by establishing five mission churches in the next 10 years in addition to Grace Hospital, one of the city's earliest.

Trinity Parish's wooden building was one of many downtown structures consumed in the Great Fire of 1889, but the church, optimistic like the city itself, immediately rebuilt. It asked Chicago architect Henry Starbuck to design a church in the English Gothic Revival style as an architectural tribute to their faith's English origins. Disaster struck again in 1902, when another fire swept through the interior, leaving only the building's irregularly-coursed rubble masonry walls. Undaunted, Trinity hired local architect John Graham, Sr., asking him to rebuild while increasing the building's size. Graham reused the exterior walls, but expanded the transept's dimensions and added a tower and a spire. Despite the additions, Graham maintained the English Gothic Revival style while adding German stained glass windows and an altar of Italian marble. Modern highways, offices and apartments have diminished Trinity's view of downtown, but the building and its congregation remain an integral part of Seattle's architectural and religious history.

The Trinity Parish Church is located at the corner of James St. and Eighth Ave. The building is open to the public during normal church services. Call 206-624-5337 or visit the church's website for further information.

Trinity Parish Church
Trinity Parish Church
Photograph courtesy of the Trinity Parish Church of Seattle

Previous Site | Next Site | Downtown Map | List of Sites | Seattle Map | Seattle Itinerary Home | NR Home

Last Modified: EST
Comments or Questions