Trinity Episcopal Church

Pocatello, Idaho

est. 1889

When Trinity Came To Be

In 1897, the architectural firm of Mooney and Johnson won the bid to build our current church, a larger stone church with gables of wood and walls of rough ashlar (this slabs of squared stone used for facing walls).  The cost was $3,912.00.  The old church was moved to the back of the lot and the excavation for the new church began.  In July of 1900 the lot next to the church was purchased and the old church was moved to that location.  Rustic siding was put on the building and it was painted and papered.  It was known as Trinity Hall and it had varied uses.  It was rented to the school board for use as a school room while wings were being built onto to West Side School (now, Pocatello High School).  It was rented

during the summers for kindergarten classes and political meetings, but its chief use was by the choir and Sunday School and other groups in the parish.  In the mid-1930’s the present parish hall (Asboe Hall) was built.

Today, at 119 years of age, this same church building continues to be one of the finest in Idaho, and one of the most beautiful.  It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its significance in Idaho’s history.

At the time that Trinity Episcopal Church was organized, Pocatello was not yet a city and consisted of one short street, which was later named Harrison Avenue.  On September 29, 1889, when a small group of Episcopalians organized Trinity the land that Pocatello sat on was still owned by the Shoshone Bannock  tribes.  The group secured the pastoral services of Rev. Thomas Bert Foster of St. Paul’s Parish in Blackfoot, ID and began holding services in the upstairs of a two story building owned by the Oregon Short Line Railroad for use by its employees.  In October, members of the parish met to form a building committee and  by November 12, 1889 a small carpenter/gothic building was erected on the corner of

what is now the southwest corner of North Main and West Lander streets.   It was the second church structure built in Pocatello.  The First Congregational United Church of Christ Church had been erected the year before.Trinity was built over an extensive buffalo wallow, and so the structure was raised on 12 foot wooden pilings to bring it level with the street.   Wandering cows would seek shade under the building and rub their backs against the pilings.  Many parishioners found this practice unsettling.  Wags of the day said that the cows went to church so often that they learned to “moo” amens at the ends of the prayers. 

The cows persisted, and so in 1893, the parish purchased lots on the corner of North Arthur and West Lander and the church and parsonage were moved to that site.  In 1897, the church was moved again to make way for construction of the present Trinity Episcopal Church.  The architectural plans cost $120.00