October 4 at 10 a.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church, will celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the laying of its cornerstone on October 4 at 10 a.m. with special service music composed for the occasion by church music director Wayne H. Peterson.
Portions of the lyrics to the work have been penned by parishioner Larry Griffin, associate librarian emeritus of the Helmke Library at IPFW.
According to John Beatty, historian for the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana and a member of Trinity, the church was designed by Toledo, Ohio, architect Charles Crosby Miller. Few of Miller’s buildings remain standing.
“The cornerstone laying actually took place in May 1865, a few weeks after President Lincoln's assassination,” said Beatty. “The building was completed in September 1866 but not formally consecrated until 1868, so that the new organ could be in place.
“Ours was one of the finest edifices he ever designed,” said Beatty. “It was made with split-faced sandstone with Indiana limestone trim in a Gothic Revival style that some call ‘French Gothic.’ The stones were said to have been hauled here by way of the Wabash & Erie Canal.”
Trinity Episcopal is the third oldest church in downtown Fort Wayne. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and St. John's Lutheran are older. However, both of those have been substantially changed, Beatty said. The Rev. Cory Randall, Trinity Episcopal’s rector emeritus, had the church put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, making Trinity one of the first Fort Wayne churches to be so honored.
Notable features of the original structure are the square tower with the octagonal spire and the great window. Originally there were two rose, or round windows, on either of the building toward the south end, but one was removed to accommodate organ pipes.
“Though there have been quite a few changes, much of the church looks close to the way it did in 1866,” Beatty said.
The Episcopal Church was first organized in Fort Wayne in 1839 and the three Episcopal congregations—Trinity, Grace and St. Alban’s--celebrated this anniversary in 2014 at a joint celebration.