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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Philadelphia in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Holy Trinity

 
 
Holy Trinity Marker image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, July 5, 2008
1. Holy Trinity Marker
Inscription. Holy Trinity was built in 1789 by Philadelphia's German Catholic community. It was the first parish church in the United States established specifically to serve a national group.
The religious turmoil and economic hardships of war-torn Germany had brought German immigrants to Pennsylvania since its founding by William Penn in 1682. By the 1780s they accounted for more than half the Catholic population of the city. In 1788 their request to build a separate church and school where they could pray and teach in their native language received the approval of Bishop John Carroll, the Prefect Apostolic for the Catholic Church in the United States.
In 1797 the church established America's first Catholic orphanage to care for the many children left homeless by the deadly yellow fever epidemics of the 1790s.
Today the church appears almost exactly as it did in 1789. The front of the church is placed perpendicular to Spruce Street so that the altar faces east, a custom of early Catholic churches in America. Holy Trinity's brickwork is one of the city's finest examples of Flemish bond with red stretcher bricks alternating with glazed black headers.
In recent years the church has no longer been at the center of a distinct German Catholic population and is combined, as in its historic roots with Old St. Mary's at Fourth Street above Spruce.
The
Holy Trinity Marker image. Click for full size.
By Carolyn Martienssen, June 27, 2015
2. Holy Trinity Marker
churchyard inspired the final scene of H.W. Longfellow's poem, Evangeline.
Side by side, in their nameless graves,
the lovers are sleeping.
Under the humble walls of the little
Catholic churchyard
In the heart of the city they lie,
Unknown and unnoticed.

The poem was based on the real tragedy of the Acadians, who were exiled from Nova Scotia by the British as punishment for their loyalty to France during the French and Indian War (1754-63). More than 450 Acadians found refuge in Philadelphia.
 
Erected by Old Philadelphia Congregations.
 
Location. 39° 56.727′ N, 75° 9.103′ W. Marker is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia County. Marker is at the intersection of 6th Street and Spruce Street, on the right when traveling south on 6th Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Philadelphia PA 19106, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Old Philadelphia Congregations (here, next to this marker); John Vallance - Engraver (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Thomas Sully Residence (about 300 feet away); Blackwell House (about 500 feet away); Nicholas Biddle
Holy Trinity Church image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, July 5, 2008
3. Holy Trinity Church
(about 500 feet away); The Spruce Street Houses (about 500 feet away); St. Charles Seminary (about 500 feet away); Francis Johnson (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Philadelphia.
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicCemeteries & Burial SitesChurches, Etc.Colonial EraNotable Persons
 
Holy Trinity Churchyard image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, July 5, 2008
4. Holy Trinity Churchyard
Interior of Holy Trinity image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, July 5, 2008
5. Interior of Holy Trinity
Photo on marker.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 12, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,158 times since then and 53 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on July 12, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.   2. submitted on August 16, 2015, by Carolyn Martienssen of West Hazleton, Pennsylvania.   3, 4, 5. submitted on July 12, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.
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