Trinity Episcopal Cathedral – Columbia, South Carolina
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Trinity Episcopal Cathedral dates back to 1812, when its first congregation gathered to build a small, wooden church on the corner of Columbia‘s Gervais and Sumter streets. The church was completed in 1814, but by 1845 – just over three decades later – well-known architect Edward Brickell White had been commissioned to create a more elegant edifice.
White, who modeled Trinity’s new home after England’s Yorkminster Cathedral, also designed the steeple of St Philip’s in Charleston. A wrought iron fence surrounds Trinity’s famous graveyard, where several South Carolina Revolutionary War and Confederate officers are buried. It is also the resting place of poet Henry Timrod, Dr. Thomas Cooper, and six of South Carolina’s governors – James Byrnes, Wade Hampton III, Richard Irvine Manning I, Richard Irvine Manning III, John Lawrence Manning, and Hugh Smith Thompson.
Remarkably, Trinity Episcopal was spared in Sherman’s March of 1865. The march destroyed a third of Columbia, and most of the buildings around the cathedral burned down. Sherman was a Roman Catholic, so Trinity was disguised to match this denomination. Its Episcopal symbols were taken away, and in their place, papier-mâché crosses were added to the roof.
In 1971, Trinity Cathedral was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1976, the Diocese of Upper South Carolina voted to make the church its cathedral parish, which means it now serves as the head church.
Learn more about Trinity Cathedral by visiting their official website here.
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