Jefferson Historical Society

New historical society forms, buys old Trinity Epsicopal Parish building

In towns and villages across the country historic buildings are rapidly disappearing. Jefferson has seen it's fair share of historic buildings disappear. One only has to look at the old village maps to see the changes that have taken place over the many years.

In summer of 2005 Jefferson was in danger of losing yet another historic building, the Trinity Episcopal Church located on East Jefferson Street. The tiny church was originally built by parishioners in 1876 and remodeled in 1895.

An addition to the building was added in 1961 to accommodate a Sunday School and kitchen. The church also contained a huge M.P. Moller organ built in 1873.

The building was bought by The Henderson Memorial Library in 1999 to give the library room to expand in the future. In 2005 the library could no longer afford the upkeep on the building, and there was strong opposition from the community to sell the building to someone outside the village.

The Henderson Memorial Library Board asked for proposals for on what to do with the building in the summer and fall of 2005.

The board was hoping that an organization would either buy the building and the land or buy the building and move is from the property. There were a few offers but none that satisfied both the purchaser's and the library's requirements.

In November of 2005 the board decided to put the Trinity Church and its land up for sale to the public in general. The organ was also placed for sale on an internet site.

At the same time a group of concerned citizens from Jefferson and the surround areas joined together to start the Jefferson Historical Society.

Jefferson residents and historians Norma Waters and Barbara Hamilton were elected president and vice president of the new society. Jean Carlson was elected secretary.

The first action by the new society was to save the Trinity Church and its organ. Donations poured into the society from everywhere including California.

New members were added to the rolls daily.

On Nov. 18 the organ was sold to a New Jersey man who dismantled the historic instrument and moved it to his home.

On Dec. 2 Henderson Library Board hired a real estate agent to sell the building.

It gave the Jefferson Historical Society 45 days to become an officially tax exempt, non-profit organization and raise enough money to purchase the historical church. After the 45 days were up the society or any other group interested in purchasing the building would have to go through the real estate agent.

Just a few days before the deadline of Jan. 15 the Jefferson Historical Society was granted their tax exempt status and was able to raise enough money to make the first payment on the Trinity Church.

An easement was granted to the library to expand its driveway into the Trinity Church property.

Although the organ is gone, the church still has its original stain glass windows, wood floor and original pews.

The plan is to restore the front of the church and us it as place to educate the public and tourists about the rich history in Jefferson and the surround areas.

The back of the building will be used to house a research library and display historical items.

The historical society has already had offers of historical photographs and other memorabilia for the church.

A stain glass expert has offered to look at the unusual windows and plan for special events and other activities are already scheduled months in advance, including a reenactment of the Wade/Woodbury Wedding.