175 Years of Faith and Fellowship.
Trinity Parish was organized September 18, 1844, at a time when the population of Janesville, Wisconsin was 200. Jackson Kemper was Bishop of the Wisconsin Territory, after having served as the first Episcopal Missionary Bishop in the 'Northwest Territory'. The congregation was the 12th parish to be organized in the Territory of Wisconsin (prior to 1848 Statehood). The first rector of the parish and the moving force behind its organization, was the Rev. Thomas J. Ruger. The Rev. Ruger served as rector until 1855, when he resigned to become the City of Janesville's first postmaster. Present day "Ruger Avenue" in Janesville is named after him.
The first services of the parish were held in a small brick school house located on Bluff Street (Parker Drive) on the east side of the River near Milwaukee Street, and continued there until January of 1846. Services were then moved to "The Old Stone Academy" on South High Street on the west side of the river. The Vestry took action on July 5, 1847 to "construct a new church edifice of brick, 42 feet wide by 70 feet long". The church was consecrated in 1848, when the 2nd Convention of the Diocese of Wisconsin took place in Trinity Parish. The new church was located on the northwest corner of Laurel and North Jackson Streets (and extend to what would now be the middle of Centerway Ave), just west of the new Janesville Police Station.
In 1859, a second parish, Christ Church, was established on the east side of the river. This congregation's church building was located on the present Church grounds. Christ Church remained open only until 1919.
The Rev. Henry Willmann became rector of Trinity Parish on December 6, 1907. The congregation prospered greatly during his rectorship of 25 years. It was under his leadership that Christ Church united with Trinity Parish. The present Trinity Episcopal Church building was constructed in 1930, where Christ Church had stood, and was renovated in 1978-79.
Ortmayer Hall (Trinity's Meetings and Education Facility) was built in 1964.
Trinity Parish has the distinction of having had the first pipe organ in Janesville (cost $1,000), the first marble altar in the Wisconsin Territory, and the first "vested choir in the West".
Our church has continued as a vibrant and welcoming community of faith, offering spiritual nourishment, meaningful connections, and warm fellowship to all who choose to walk through our doors.