1993 Christmas in Columbia Ornament of Opportunity – Trinity Episcopal Cathedral


In keeping with the spirit of the season, the Babcock Center Foundation proudly presents the 1993 “Official City Ornament.” This year’s ornament depicts the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.


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.