History

The Trinity Cathedral Historical and Architectural Guide, published in 1912 and revised in 1939, is available to download here (PDF 6 Meg).

On November 9, 1816, a group of Episcopalians met in the home of Phineas Shepard on the West side of what now is greater Cleveland, to organize what was to become Trinity Parish. When in 1825 Trinity parish moved to the east bank of the Cuyahoga River, worship services were held in the upper story of the log house on Public Square, which also served as the public courthouse and jail.

In 1829, the congregation’s first church building was consecrated by Bishop Philander Chase. It was the first church building within the Cleveland village limits. In 1855 the parish moved into a new, larger stone building of gothic design, which served the congregation’s needs until 1902. At the end of the nineteenth century, Trinity was the strongest parish in the diocese numerically and financially and was also rich in traditions of strong pastoral leadership and in service to the community and the larger church.

In 1890, Trinity Church was offered to Bishop William A. Leonard as a cathedral to be maintained by the parish. At the same time, a new building site was sought in a more central but less commercial section of the city. Plans were begun for a building at Euclid Avenue and East 22nd Street, with Charles F. Schweinfurth of Cleveland as the architect. His plan eventually evolved into the present English perpendicular Gothic structure, begun in 1901 and consecrated September 24, 1907.

From its early days, the Cathedral has served as an anchor in the Quadrangle neighborhood and in downtown Cleveland. However, near the century’s end, Trinity’s leaders realized that the original cathedral could no longer accommodate its growing congregation’s needs. In 2000, renovation and expansion work began. The result was Trinity Commons, opened in 2002.

Today the Cathedral sits in the Campus District. The congregation is committed to the vision of the cathedral as a center of worship, art, fine music, social service and justice ministries and public gatherings for the diocese an the entire urban area, as well as for our own congregation.

Photograph of Archbishop Desmond Tutu at Trinity Cathedral

Archbishop Desmond Tutu at Trinity Cathedral

Over the years, Trinity Cathedral has been host to many diocesan, ecumenical, and community events that have included public forums and meetings on the issues of the day, consecrations of bishops, diocesan conventions, and festivals, such as the annual Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival. In addition, Trinity holds public lectures and workshops with religious leaders and public figures such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, John Shelby Spong, Bishop Gene Robinson, Diane Rehm, Kathleen Norris, James Carroll, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Shane Claiborne and many more.

Trinity Commons is downtown Cleveland’s first green building and, in addition to the Cathedral, houses the offices of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio and Cafe Ah-Roma. Trinity Commons is a home for mission and ministry in downtown Cleveland. We welcome community events and programs that further peace and justice, education, and spiritual growth; learn more here about renting space at Trinity.

Rectors/Deans of Trinity Parish/Trinity Cathedral

Roger Searle 1816-1826
Silas C. Freeman 1826-1829
William N. Lyster 1829-1839
James McElroy 1830-1832
Seth Davis 1833-1838
Ebenezer Boyden 1835-1837
Richard Bury 1839-1846
Lloyd Windsor 1846-1853
James Aaron Bolles 1854-1859
Thomas A. Starkey 1859-1869
Charles A. Breck 1869-1872
William Edward McLaren 1872-1875
John Wesley Brown 1875-1882
Yelverton Peyton Morgan (first dean) 1882-1891
Charles David Williams 1893-1906
Frank Dumoulin 1907-1914
Henry Pryor Almon Abbott 1914-1919
Francis Samuel White 1920-1931
Chester Burge Emerson 1932-1951
Percy F. Rex 1953-1957
David Loegler 1958-1968
Perry Roberts Williams 1968-1989
William Dailey Persell 1991-1999
Tracey Lind 2000-present

source: Trinity Cathedral Parish: The First 150 Years, by Roderic Hall Pierce, 1967