A Brief History of Trinity Church, Boston

Trinity Church
Trinity Church | © Bill Damon / Flickr

Freelance Writer

In Boston’s Back Bay at Copley Square sits the architecturally stunning Trinity Church. The Back Bay neighborhood was once underwater before being filled in with land. The church actually rests on over 4,000 wooden piles that were put underneath fill and clay to keep the church’s foundation strong.

Trinity Church interior

When was the church built?

Built from 1872 to 1877, Trinity Church is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts parish. After the parish’s church on Summer Street had burned down in the Great Boston Fire of 1872, construction on the new church began – one in the shape of a modified Greek cross – under the direction of Rector Phillips Brooks, a well-known preacher at the time.
Designed by Henry Hobson Richardson in a Richardsonian Romanesque style, Trinity Church is considered the birthplace of this architectural style, and its signature features include a clay roof, arches, rough stones, and towers. The style has since been used in many other buildings in the United States.

Inside Trinity Church, there are brightly colored murals that cover over 20,000 square feet (nearly 2,000 meters squared). While the windows were clear glass at first, they are now beautiful stained-glass murals. The church is considered one of the “Ten Most Significant Buildings in the United States” and is the only church in the nation with that honor.

Trinity Church exterior

The Trinity Church today

Trinity Church is still operating today, nearly 300 years later. The congregation holds five services on Sunday, as well as a few services during the week, depending on the season.

Additionally, the parish is heavily involved in community outreach and has partnerships with Habitat for Humanity, Rosie’s Place, the Walk for Hunger, and other organizations. Several of their outreach ministries became the Trinity Boston Foundation, a separately incorporated, nonprofit organization that supports the emotional well-being and development of young people – for both the religiously affiliated and those without faith traditions.

The National Historic Landmark building also offers guided or self-guided tours for visitors Tuesday through Sunday (the tour is free on Sundays). Stop by and see the beautiful stained glass and unique architecture!

The stunning interior of Trinity Church

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,656 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article