Churches all around the world bear the name ‘Trinity Church.’ The most unusual by far happens to be a small Russian Orthodox Trinity Church made of Siberian pine wood on the tip of King George Island in Antarctica. The most famous, arguably, is Manhattan’s Trinity Church. Once the tallest building in the city, the church, actually three churches of the same name that were built on the same ground, is one of the most well-endowed and recognizable sights in New York City. In another time, it was the first thing sailors and voyagers saw when pulling into New York Harbor. Today, though it is dwarfed by buildings, it holds a place in the Financial District that is closely intertwined with history. Here are 10 of the most enticing secrets we dug up about it.
1. The First Trinity Church Was (Sort Of) Built by Pirates
After the Church of England community received its charter from King William III in 1697, it set about building a modest church on a plot of land near what is now Manhattan’s South Ferry. They were aided in construction by Captain William Kidd, a Scottish sailor who was later arrested and executed on counts of piracy after a voyage to the Indian Ocean. Kidd lent the church’s builders the runner and tackle from his ship to lift the stones needed for the church’s foundation and walls. Though commonly branded a pirate, there is evidence to suggest that Kidd was simply a privateer, with most of his reputation stemming from his very public arrest and trial.