Historic Bike Tour Stop 11 : Trinity Episcopal Church 

Trinity postcard
Postcard of Trinity Episcopal Church

Trinity Episcopal is the oldest standing church structure in Niles. The first Episcopal church service in the community was held at a schoolhouse on the corner of Third and Sycamore Streets in 1832. Two years later, the parish organized. This present church was built in 1858, replacing a frame structure erected on this site in 1836.  Trinity Episcopal not only holds the distinction as the oldest standing church building in Niles, but it is also the first Episcopal Church built in the Diocese of Western Michigan. 

Reverend Joseph Phillips led the first service in the current church building on April 25, 1858. Rev. Phillips served as rector of the church from the 1850s until his death in 1866.  He was also the grandfather of Ring Lardner, an internationally known sports journalist and author of short stories, articles, plays and songs.  Born in Niles in 1885, Ring Lardner sang in the choir at Trinity Episcopal and played organ on occasion.  Ring Lardner's mother, Lena Bogardus (Phillips) Lardner, was very active in the church. She taught Sunday School and directed music for various services. Her daughter( and Ring's sister) Lena Lardner served as Organist-Choirmaster at Trinity for over 40 years. 

Trinity Episcopal church, 1891
Trinity Episcopal Church, dated 1891