Explore Maryland’s Oldest Church

Explore Maryland's Oldest Church

Maryland is home to a veritable wonder hidden amidst its landscapes: the Old Trinity Church in Church Creek. The state is rich in history and culture. As the oldest continually used church structure in the continental United States and among the original thirteen states, this charming red brick church, which dates back to 1675, stands as a tribute to generations of American tradition. Let’s explore the fascinating story that surrounds this important historical find.

The Old Trinity Church’s past

Built in 1675 by Anglican settlers seeking religious freedom in Maryland, the Old Trinity Church—originally named Dorchester Parish Church—became the hub of the colonists’ early settlement. This revered location saw important events in American history throughout the ages, including the turmoil of the War of 1812, the American Revolution, and the Civil War’s agony. Its hallowed walls were blessed by notables like George Washington, who attended a service there in 1784, and Francis Scott Key, who exchanged vows there in 1802.

With time, the church endured and received a number of restorations while maintaining its colonial charm. In 1970, it was designated as a National Historic Landmark, further highlighting its lasting significance. It is still a thriving Episcopal parish today, holding weekly services and leaving a legacy for coming generations.

Old Trinity Church’s architectural design

With its simple yet elegant form, red brick laid in Flemish bond, a steeply pitched roof, and a wooden bell tower, Old Trinity Church is a prime example of colonial architecture. Its small 40 feet by 25 feet footprint contains a single nave and chancel that are adorned with furnishings from the 17th and 18th centuries, such as a pulpit, communion table, wooden benches, and a baptismal font. Through its stained glass windows, which honor its rich history and benefactors while illustrating biblical stories, the church’s story is further revealed.

The church’s cemetery, which encloses it on three sides, is particularly noteworthy since it acts as a moving reminder of time passing. With more than a thousand graves—some of which date back to the 1600s—it is the last resting place for prominent locals and soldiers of several wars. It also provides a serene view of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and the Chesapeake Bay.

Old Trinity Church’s significance

Old Trinity Church is more than just a building; it represents the tenacity, religiosity, and variety of Marylanders. Stemming from the concepts of religious liberty and inclusivity, it serves as a symbol of Maryland’s founding beliefs and the resilient spirit of the country. Its presence enhances the fabric of American history by celebrating the distinctive natural beauty and customs of the Eastern Shore and paying tribute to its legacy.

In summary

From its tranquil perch in Church Creek, Maryland, Old Trinity Church calls to those looking for a journey through history, beauty, and spirituality. Rich in history, architecture, and religion, it offers a stimulating experience for anyone who are interested in these subjects. I hope this tour of Old Trinity Church was informative, and if you are ever in the area, I strongly recommend you take advantage of the chance to see its historic corridors.

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