Universal York

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Changes at York’s Trinity U.M. Church over the Years

Trinity U.M. Church 1941 and 1946
In response to my previous posts on Trinity United Methodist Church on East King Street, I was asked when the steeple was taken down. I didn’t know it ever had a steeple until I saw it in newspaper clippings and the history booklets put out to commemorate the Trinity congregation 50th anniversary in 1921 and the 75th in 1946.
The congregation has recently merged with Fourth United Methodist Church, perhaps spurred on by the structural repairs needed to the roof trusses. The handsome building, designed by Harry Yessler, one of York’s leading architects is for sale. The new owner will be required to have the building repaired to make it safe for occupancy. I know little about the current real estate market, but if the price is deemed reasonable it seems like a buyer might end up, after repairs, with a spacious and sturdy building–one that is an integral part of the character of the neighborhood.
The booklets do not not mention the steeple, but they do tell about other improvements the church has undergone. I think the steeple may have been removed as part of sprucing up the church for the 75th anniversary in 1946. A drawing of Trinity with steeple is on the cover of a 1941 member directory in the Trinity U.M. file at York County Heritage Trust. It is no longer there in a photo from the 1946 anniversary booklet.
Below are some accounts of early and mid-20th century improvements at Trinity Church:

The present church building was dedicated January 24, 1897. The congregation grew rapidly and “the sanctuary was deepened approximately 25 feet to the north and a new Sunday School room was built with a balcony on the east, west and north sides.” Work was completed in May 1906. This was the heyday of the Sunday School movement, and just ten years later a 32-foot, two-story addition was added to the Sunday School room.
For the 75th anniversary in 1946, Trinity embarked on “a program that would increase the beauty of the Sanctuary and add more joy to worship.” It included “the repainting and the redecorating of the walls and ceiling, the reloading of the windows, the placing of a wooden paneled screen about the choir loft and other interior improvements. New steps were placed at the front entrances of the church and other renovations were performed. These may have included removing the steeple.

Trinity Sunday School pre-1916

Trinity Sunday School after 1916 enlargement