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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Tenney Mason, 05/1973
Trinity Church
Inventory No.: HO-45
Date Listed: 5/6/1974
Location: 7474 Baltimore Washington Boulevard (US 1) , Elkridge, Howard County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1856-1857, 1890
Description: Trinity Church is a rectangular frame church of three bays with shingled walls and on the east end, a semi-octagonal apse of stone to window sill height, and half-timbering above, the roof of which forms an octagonal pyramid or low spire. An entrance porch is on the north side of the west bay, which is somewhat longer than the other bays, and a shingled rectangular sacristy extends south from the east bay. A tall, thin shingled bell tower of six sides (not a regular hexagon, but rather, part of an octagon with elongated north and south sides) rises from the east corner of the sacristy-nave intersection. In its present form, the result of additions in c. 1890, Trinity Church belongs to the "Shingle Style." When originally constructed, Trinity Church was a rectangular structure, externally finished with horizontal weatherboards. Prior to the additions of 1890, the entrance was centered in the east end, toward the road, and was sheltered by a small hood supported on curved brackets. A window, with a semi-elliptically arched head and diamond leaded glass, and a label lintel, was high in the east wall above the door. The weatherboard bell tower stood in its present location as the principal exterior ornamental feature. A pre-1890 photograph indicates nave windows in their present locations, and of their present widths; foliage obscures the shape of their heads, however. Shingles are uniform in width, with butts semi-octagonal in shape, all stained a dark brown color, and, except for those on the sacristy, they appear original. Evidence suggests that the apparent stone foundation may be a c. 1890 veneer. Nave windows, three on each side, have semi-elliptically arched heads. A secondary entrance to the nave is through the west end near the south corner, sheltered by a simple bracketed hood. The nave roof, with moderate pitch and overhang, is covered with standing seam tin. Significance: Trinity Church was built in 1856-57 as a chapel-of-ease in Queen Caroline Parish, the mother church of which was, and still is, Christ Church, Guilford, near Columbia, Maryland. When originally built, Trinity was a very simple rectangular frame chapel finished externally with horizontal weatherboarding; its entrance was in the east end, toward the road. This structure's chief architectural significance is that it was first built as a very simple building, but received several unique, distinctive and ingenious additions which deliberately and successfully created a picturesque effect. In 1890, the orientation of the building was reversed with the addition of a half-timbered apse at the east end and a porch at the west, thus creating an orientation in the medieval tradition, with the altar in the east end. The shingles and additional stonework were added to the walls, thus placing Trinity Church in the "Shingle Style" of the 19th century. Its significance is increased by its setting; the church stands in a grove of mature trees on some six acres of land, within an industrial corridor of long standing and little beauty. The church is far enough from the highway, to seem isolated from it, but near enough to it to seem a part of it, and to be an influence on all who travel this route, U.S. 1, between Baltimore and Washington.


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