Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church South 

Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church South 

The “elegant” 1893 building

by Claire Kelly (Originally published in Tidings in 2004)

No one knows when or how the name Trinity was given to the Methodist Church in Tallahassee, but in 1892 one thing was certain.  The last decade of the 19th century had begun and Trinity Methodist Church – Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church South, as it was known until the denomination was officially unified in 1939 – was outgrowing its building: its 307 members needed more room.  A building committee which included George I. Davis, W.L. Moor, B.A. Meginniss (later replaced by W.M. McIntosoh, Jr.), and the pastor W.M.Poage, wasted no time. A year later this article appeared in the Weekly Floridian:

The Methodists of Tallahassee are going to have an elegant new church, to occupy the same site as the old one; and work has begun on it.  The Presbyterians have kindly offered the Methodists the use of their church while the work of construction is going.  Presbyterian services will be held on the first and third Sundays in each month and Methodist services will be held at the Presbyterian church on the second and fourth Sundays in each month.  Methodist Sunday school will be held in the Academy building at 9:30 every Sunday.

Gilmore and Davis were the contractors.  The ladies of the church held fund raisers, among the most successful of which were the lunches served in January 1893 for the inaugural festivities for the new governor, Henry Mitchell.  The planning, fund raising, and hard work were rewarded when the congregation moved into the new sanctuary in 1893.  

A semi-Gothic structure of pressed Macon brick, the new building was ornamented by stained glass windows and included a 45-foot tower topped by a soaring steeple.  A handsome gilded arrow weathervane added the finishing touch.  

Entering the church door facing Duval Street, worshippers walked through an attractively finished vestibule with a tile floor in a mosaic pattern.  The woodwork was of polished native Florida curled pine.  Stained glass transoms surmounted paneled swinging doors, which led into the interior proper.  Adorning the walls of the sanctuary, large memorial stained glass windows honored various former members of the church, as well as Miss Sue Blake, “our missionary to China.”  The name Trinity was used in the glass window above the entrance, the first reference we have to the church being named Trinity.

Inside the auditorium was entirely free of pillars or visible supports of any kind.  Worshippers had a clear view of the transept under a beautiful elliptical arch at the north end of the sanctuary.  With little effort, the minister could be heard throughout the entire auditorium.  The 188 organ was moved to the new church and completely overhauled by Professor H.W. Chang, who pronounced it “sweeter and better than ever.”

The congregation moved into the new church owing $1,500 to the pastor and $1,000 to the Board of Church Extension.  Both amounts were quickly repaid, and the church moved on to new activities to proclaim the glory of God.