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.

Trinity Episcopal Columbia

Benton Henry of Latta, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

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.

Trinity Cathedral Interior

F. Everett Leigh of Union, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

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.

Trinity Columbia

F. Everett Leigh of Union, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

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.

Trinity Episcopal Church

Frederick Austin of Gilbert, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

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.

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

Ralph Mayer of Lexington, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

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.

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Info

Address: 1100 Sumter Street, Columbia, SC 29201

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Map

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