Old Trinity Church – Woolford, Maryland - Atlas Obscura

Old Trinity Church

Woolford, Maryland

The United States' oldest Episcopal church still in active use. 


For the longest time, this place was known only as “the old church.”

Built in the 17th century—definitely before 1692, most likely before 1680—the small church served a small community of English settlers. Not long before the Civil War, in 1853, it was remodeled in the then-fashionable Gothic style and given the name Trinity Church. But even then, everyone called it “Old Trinity.”

Over time, the church fell into disrepair; at times it was “almost abandoned.” But a few people in the community kept coming and working to preserve it. In the 1950s, thanks to the Garbish family, the church was restored to colonial style. The original floor tiles were found hidden under the wooden floors, and wood for the pews and altar came from barns in the area that still had 17th and 18th-century heart of pine wood in them. 

Today, the church is still in use, and it’s thought to be the oldest Episcopal church still in active use (or in continuous use) in the United States. Regardless of whether or not that’s entirely accurate, its history stretches back centuries. 

The cemetery is also still in active use and has headstones marking centuries-old graves. There are veterans of every American war buried here. According to the church, Anna Ella Carroll, who was an active political figure in the mid-19th century and is sometimes called “the silent member of Lincoln’s cabinet,” is buried here. 

Know Before You Go

The church and cemetery are both still in active use. The grounds are open dawn to dusk every day.

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