Trinity Episcopal Church

1100 Sumter St., Columbia, South Carolina



Photo taken for the Historic American Buildings Survey


Street View 


Trinity Episcopal Church’s chief significance is architectural. It was designed ca. 1840 by Edward Brickell White, who also designed the steeple of St. Philip’s Church and Grace Church in Charleston. Modeled after Yorkminster Cathedral in England, the church is an example of English Gothic Revival style with a cruciform shape, two ornate front towers, arched oak doors, and four-shouldered buttresses. It is one of the earliest examples of ecclesiastical Gothic architecture in the South. Most of its stained glass windows were imported from Munich ca. 1860 and its marble baptismal font was designed by Hiram Powers. Founded in 1812, the first frame church building was completed in 1814. The present building was begun in 1845 and finished in present form 1894. The towers and nave were constructed first, with the transepts added and chancel extended in 1861-1862 under White’s direction. The church escaped burning in 1865 by General W. T. Sherman, who was a Roman Catholic, by the removal of its “Episcopal” signs, and the placing of papier-mâché crosses on the edges of its roof. Buried in its adjacent historic graveyard are five South Carolina governors, two Revolutionary War officers, three Confederate generals, the poet Henry Timrod, the three Wade Hamptons, surveyor John Gabriel Guignard, and Dr. Thomas Cooper. Listed in the National Register February 24, 1971. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on February 24, 1971
Reference number
Architectural style
Victorian: Gothic
Areas of significance
Architecture; Religion
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Religious structure
Current function
Religious structure
Periods of significance
1875-1899; 1850-1874; 1825-1849
Significant years
1840; 1862; 1894
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 1
Contributing sites: 1

Update Log 

  • October 11, 2018: New photo from Michael Miller
  • October 20, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description" & "Street View" and Imported Photo
  • October 20, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller
  • July 7, 2012: Imported photos from HABS/HAER