Trinity Episcopal Church (Muscatine, Iowa)

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Trinity Episcopal Church
MuscatineIA TrinityEpiscopalChurch.jpg
Trinity Episcopal Church (Muscatine, Iowa) is located in Iowa
Trinity Episcopal Church (Muscatine, Iowa)
Location 411 E. 2nd St.
Muscatine, Iowa
Coordinates 41°25′25″N 91°2′31″W / 41.42361°N 91.04194°W / 41.42361; -91.04194Coordinates: 41°25′25″N 91°2′31″W / 41.42361°N 91.04194°W / 41.42361; -91.04194
Built 1851-1854
Architect Frank Will
Architectural style Gothic Revival
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 74000803 [1]
Added to NRHP October 29, 1974

Trinity Episcopal Church is a parish church in the Diocese of Iowa. The church is located in Muscatine, Iowa, United States, at 411 East 2nd Street. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Development of the Episcopal Church in Muscatine[edit]

The original Trinity Church in Muscatine.

The Episcopal Church in Muscatine can trace it roots to the arrival of Matthew Matthews, his son Dorrance, and his brothers Hiram and Joseph, and their families in 1839 when the town was named Bloomington. They were visited by the Rt. Rev. Jackson Kemper, Missionary Bishop of the Northwest, the same year. The next year when Bishop Kemper visited he reports the church had seven communicants and timber for the construction of a church building. The bishop contributed $100 towards its construction.[2]

The church was a frame building that measured 22x50 feet, and was one and three-fourths stories high. It had eight windows, fifteen lights, and a small vestry room. When Trinity was not using the building the Presbyterian Congregation held services in the building. A bell was mounted on the vestry room and it was utilized by both congregations. The Freemasons completed a second story on the building and occupied that part of the building. Bishop Kemper was opposed to the Masons presence in the building and refused to consecrate the church.[2] This was the first church of any denomination built in Muscatine County, and the first Episcopal Church in Iowa.[2]

The church had no rector initially and was visited by the Rev. Zachariah Goldsmith from Trinity Church in Davenport. On June 28, 1842 the church was reorganized at a meeting with fourteen people present. The Rev. Samuel Sherwell, a deacon from New York, was placed in charge of the church on May 12, 1843.

Present church[edit]


The Rev. John B. Calhoun, who came to Trinity in 1850, asked parishioners to subscribe towards a new church building. In the spring of 1851 sixteen members subscribed $1,250. He was sent east to collect more subscriptions and he collected a further $1,298.50 from one hundred and sixty-eight people.[2] Frank Will, an architect from New York City, was chosen to design the new church. The new church was built on the same lot as the old church.[3] The basement and foundations were built in the fall of 1851 and the cornerstone was laid on November 11. Construction on the church took three years. It is built of sandstone in the Gothic Revival style.

Bishop Kemper came to Muscatine to consecrate the new church on May 25, 1854. He was assisted by the Rev. John Ufford. The building was enlarged in 1855 and the bell was placed in the cupola in 1856.

Diocese of Iowa[edit]

The Diocese of Iowa was organized by Bishop Kemper in 1853. He invited the clergy and representatives of the various congregations of the state to a meeting at Trinity Church in Muscatine on August 17. In the absence of the bishop the Rev. Alfred Louderbeck of Trinity Church in Davenport was elected the chairman. At this gathering the constitutions and canons for the new diocese were adopted, and plans were made for the election of a bishop. On October 18, 1854 Rev. Henry Washington Lee, rector of St. Luke’s Church in Rochester, New York was elected bishop at Trinity Church in Davenport.[4][5]

Twentieth century[edit]

The Diocese of Iowa began participating in Education in Ministry in 1989. It is a theological extension program of the School of Theology of the University of the South. Trinity and St. Paul's Indian Mission in Sioux City were the original centers for the people of Iowa to gather for the program.[6]

Lightning struck the church during an early morning thunderstorm on August 9, 2010. Significant damage was done to the cupola on the front of the church and an iron cross on top.[7]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ a b c d "History of Muscatine County Iowa 1911". Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  3. ^ "Trinity Episcopal Church Muscatine, Iowa". Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  4. ^ "Chapter XX-Churches and Parishes". Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  5. ^ Horton, Loren N. (2003). The Beautiful Heritage: A History of the Diocese of Iowa. Des Moines: Diocese of Iowa. p. 24. 
  6. ^ Horton, 120
  7. ^ Steinbach, Chris. "Lightning strikes crumbles 159-year-old church steeple in Muscatine". Retrieved 2010-08-10. 

External links[edit]