Trinity United Methodist Church is BG Historic Building of the Month – BG Independent News

The church known for its distinctive dome will be Bowling Green’s Historic Building of the Month in September.

Trinity United Methodist Church, at the corner of East Court and North Summit streets, is enhanced by the Bowling Green Historic Preservation Commission.

Rose Drain, a member of Friends of HPC, researched the church and found the following details…

The first church to occupy the site was a brick church completed in 1880 by the Bowling Green United Brethren in Christ Church at a total cost of $4,500. By 1900, the congregation had grown from 15 to 450 members.

In 1911, when the UB Church of Middle Township disbanded and its members affiliated with Trinity United Brethren Church, it became apparent that the old church had become too small.

“The spirit was in the air for a new, larger building,” according to the Legacy of Trinity United Methodist Church of Bowling Green 1875-2000. The cost of this new church would be $60,000.

A committee formed to oversee the planning and construction of the new church hired a man named Powell from Buffalo, whose specialty was helping churches, organizations, and lodges raise funds. He spoke to the congregation and fired them up for the huge undertaking. People rallied around this new venture and there was a lot of money promised.

After 10 days, Trinity had pledges totaling $29,000. From then until the mortgage was paid off, every fourth Sunday was known as Bond Sunday, when the Sunday School applied all of its donations that day for the building obligation.

From 1913 to 1926, the Ladies Aid Society raised funds by operating a kitchen during the Wood County Fair.

In 1914, the dream of the new church came true and the Trinity congregation was ready to move into their new church. On March 29 of that year, the church held its dedication service.

The interior of the church followed the plan of Akron. https://albrightpgh.com/2016/05/03/akron-plan-churches-and-albright/

The Akron plan was invented at the First Methodist Church in Akron, Ohio in the 1860s-70s. The Akron plan is a perfect example of architecture enlisted to support a teaching program and has been used in thousands of churches. The key idea was to have Sunday school rooms with moveable partitions grouped around a central space from which all occupants of the room could be addressed.

There could be two [as is the case with Trinity United Methodist Church] and sometimes three levels of such chambers. The Sunday School superintendent or minister, speaking from the “superintendent’s platform” in this central space, spoke on the topic of the day for the Sunday School study. Then the scores would be drawn and each class would engage in a discussion on this topic. This would apply to all classes, and sometimes even adult classes. Each class would discuss the topic of the day at an age-appropriate level.

Built in the neoclassical architectural style, the exterior of the building has features reminiscent of the Parthenon in Rome, including a four-column portico supporting a triangular pediment.

This feature “provides a focal point and is often used to add grandeur to entrances”. The impressive dome, although visible from the outside, and the gold leaf painted plaster decorations that surround it inside, are best appreciated when illuminated and seen while one is sitting or standing in the church. The stained glass in the dome and the windows along the south side of the sanctuary and in most of the apse are original. An educational wing was added to the church in the 1950s.

Today, 110 years after construction began, the building is well used and enjoyed by members of Trinity United Methodist Church.

The goal of the Bowling Green Historic Preservation Commission is to assist the city and landowners in preserving historically significant structures. It is hoped that the city’s recently passed ordinance will slow the cultural decline seen in the older housing stock over the past few decades.

The effort is focused on protecting the historic integrity of the buildings – and helping, where possible, with restorations. To fully function, the city has applied to become a certified local government through the Ohio Historic Preservation Office. CLG status allows the city to obtain preservation grants and tax credits to help owners and businesses protect historic buildings.

Jerry B. Hatch