Trinity Episcopal Church
3rd Ave & 3rd Street
Episcopal Church Project
PO Box 395
Aberdeen, SD 57402-0395
Photos from August 22, 2004. Tree was planted in memory of Earl Ruden who for many years was the caretaker of the church. Earl and Topper Tastad worked together on many projects here at the church throughout the years.
The Brown County Historical Society announced the kick-off of the Trinity Church Restoration Campaign. The capital fund drive will seek to raise $30,000 for the restoration and renovation of Groton's first church. Among the priority items to be tackled will be to bring up and level the church floor which is sagging in the middle and replace the crumbling foundation of the structure. Plans to restore the interior of the church with carpentry and paint.
Also seeking information from the area citizens who may have pictures or written history of the church. Verbal memories would also be welcomed. These may be emailed in to city hall and we will forward them to the Historical Society.
Since the Historical Society owns the Groton church building, your donation to the fund raising campaign will be tax deductible. Checks can be made out and mailed to the "Episcopal Church Project' C/O Brown County Historical Society, PO Box 395, Aberdeen, SD 57402. Help bring Trinity Church back to life with your contribution. You can help save our oldest community landmark.
Trinity Church was built by the congregation at a cost of $1,200. They started building on July 1, 1883 and completed it on June 30, 1884. The church is still consecrated into the dioceses, but the deed to the property was turned over to the Brown County Historical Society in 1974 and the church has been placed on the National Register of Historic Sites.
The church was built in 1884 after the pattern entitled "Wooden Chapel", published in Richard Upjohn's Rural Architecture, 1952. It is constructed of frame resting on stone and concrete foundation. the church is one story in height with the gable roof sloping down to meet the tops of the windows. The building has a narthex entrance and Gothic Revival details throughout. The exterior is board and batten and the windows from lancet arches framed with Tudor label molds.
The interior has stained and grained wood throughout, including the wooden truss ceiling. The motifs for the interior details are Gothic and Victorian. Upjohn inspired churches were built in many states in the 1852-1900 era. Alabama, Nebraska, and Minnesota all have rural churches built in this mode. This is the single remaining example of a rural board-and-battan Episcopal Church in South Dakota. According to architectural historian, Daniel Kidd there were some alterations to the original plan. His description is as follows:
Based on the simple fact that is without a chancel, it would seem the board-and-batten Episcopal Church was inspired by the design for a "Wooden Chapel". This building was erected with a gabled entrance porch centered on the main facade. Like the chapel design, there is a lancet to either side of the entrance, but a lancet above this opening was omitted and the trefoil in the gable peak called for by the published chapel design was converted into a simple oculus. Lancets on the side walls are paired into three groups-taking further liberties, but the rear wall returns more closely to the plates: the focal feature is an arched window with wooden tracery that creates three lancet shapes.
According to the Upjohn book, the chapel's rear wall was to have an emphatic triple lancet. The leaded and stained glass window behind the altar was made specifically for this church and was shipped from Connecticut. The smaller side windows have etched colored glass. All of the pews, altar and other appointments were hand made by pioneer families. In the summer of 1889 the church was painted and the walls papered as a gift of D. B. Johns, an early merchant.
The church's basic design is unaltered, the only changes have been the addition of a furnace and chimney and the electrical wiring. The church stands on its original lot, but has been turned. Originally it is believed to have faced north.
The church is now under the care of the Brown County Historical Society. The last services were held in the late 1960's. The last wedding was held in 1967 and the last funeral was in 1983.