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Lost Dallas: Trinity Methodist Church
Blending the Chicago School and Prairie styles, the Trinity Methodist Church was an innovative and unique anchor at the corner of McKinney Avenue and Pearl Street. The church was designed by James Flanders and completed in 1904, bringing a new progressive, contemporary style of architecture to the city.
The design was considered his masterpiece and had a strong emphasis on the horizontal with trim elements, window arrangements, and the exterior treatment of the basement level. The ornamentation—especially the intricate stone frieze detailing—was inspired by the work of Louis Sullivan. The Gothic-style stained glass windows with their verticality contrasted with the horizontality of the building. Three entry towers adorned the building with the tallest on the McKinney Avenue side serving as the main entry.
The interior of the church was spacious and well-lit with its high ceilings featuring electric lights original to the building. The pews were arranged in a semicircular configuration with the focal point of the sanctuary being the chancel with an oak and terra cotta proscenium arch encircling the pulpit area and a pipe organ. The sanctuary and a semicircular assembly room behind it could be combined, offering space for 800 people, by raising a movable wall into the attic. In 1974, due to its architectural significance, Trinity Methodist Church became Dallas’ first listing in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1976, the church became the first individual historic landmark in the City of Dallas.
The church closed its doors in 1974 due to a dwindling congregation. Redevelopment attempts were underway when arson caused the church to burn in 1981, gutting the structure. After an attempt to incorporate the remaining walls into a new development proved too costly, the remains of the building were finally taken down in 1985. All traces of the Trinity Methodist Church, a pioneering and significant historic landmark for Dallas, were erased forever.
For more on places of worship throughout the Lone Star State, check out the "Sacred Spaces of Texas" exhibition at the Dallas Center for Architecture now through March 14. Learn more at www.DallasCFA.com.