Trinity Episcopal Church, founded in 1841 by The Rev. Benjamin Eaton, is part of the Episcopal Church – the American branch of the Church of England. This gothic structure was completed in 1857 and is one of the two oldest churches in Galveston. It has survived numerous hurricanes, yellow-fever epidemics, fire and flood. The 1900 storm severely damaged the south wall. In 1926 the entire structure was raised 4½ feet by hand-operated jacks to the beat of a drum.
The original, handmade pews in earlier times were rented to families to help pay the church expenses. The large columns, not part of the original design, were added to reassure fearful worshipers, but are not structurally necessary. After hurricane Alicia the tie-rods that join the solid masonry walls to prevent outward drift during storms and the copper roof were both replaced identical to the original.
The sanctuary of Trinity church boasts 20 stained glass windows, some priceless, including two made by Tiffany Studios of New York. (To take a “tour” of these windows click here.) The great window over the altar depicting Christ as the protector of “the least of these, my brethren” was designed and made by Louis Comfort Tiffany of New York in 1904 in memory of George and Magnolia Sealy and is one of the rarest of its kind due its size, age and the fact that it remained intact and unbroken through many natural disasters. Notable stained glass designers such as McCausland Studios of Toronto, Jacoby of St. Louis, O. Smith Studios of Bryn Athyn and J.R. Lamb of New York also have their windows in our historic sanctuary.
Trinity is also famous for her 69-rank Austin organ. Completed in 1989, the organ was designed by Dr. Robert Baker and built by the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, Connecticut. The pipes, made of various metals and wood, number 4,086. The nationally acclaimed concert organist Ronald Wyatt has been the Director of Music at Trinity for over 30 years and plays every Sunday at the 10:30 a.m. service. In addition, Mr. Wyatt also gives a concert called the Pipe Organ Extravaganza every December during Dickens on the Strand to sold-out audiences. Many say his concert is the highlight of this popular annual event.
Additional Notes: Trinity Church was closed for a two years during the Civil War. The church was hit by a cannon ball during a Civil War battle. Eaton Hall across the garth was designed by Nicholas Clayton and built in 1882 with funds given by the women of the church and philanthropist Henry Rosenberg. Notable Galvestonians in the parish have included Rosenberg, members of the Sealy, Ball, Kelso, and Hutchings families, Thomas Jefferson League, James Moreau Brown, and others. Trinity’s founding rector, the Reverend Benjamin Eaton, died on Palm Sunday, March 19, 1871 shortly after collapsing while preaching in the pulpit, painting a verbal picture of death passing down the aisle. Mr. Eaton is buried in a crypt beneath the altar. Trinity has been faithfully served by only 10 Rectors in her 160-year plus history. Our current Priest in charge is The Reverend Susan Kennard.