This Gothic Revival church in historic York was built in 1891. However, the congregation of Trinity Methodist was formed in 1824 by two men – the Reverend William Gassaway and the Reverend Joseph Holmes. The first structure to house Trinity Methodist was built in 1826 on College Street.
Trinity Methodist belonged to the Methodist Episcopal, South denomination and was the oldest church of that denomination in York County. Prior to the formation of the Methodist Episcopal, South, it belonged to the larger denomination, the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Methodist Episcopal, South denomination formed in 1844 as a result of a disagreement within the larger Methodist Episcopal Church over the issue of slavery and the authority of the church to punish bishops who owned slaves. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was vehemently opposed to slavery, and the denomination officially opposed the practice when Methodism organized in America in 1784.
The Methodist Episcopal, South denomination governed itself, setting its own policies until reuniting with the Methodist Episcopal Church as well as another denomination, the Methodist Protestant Church, in 1939 to form The Methodist Church. The denomination became the United Methodist Church in 1968, as it is known today, though there remain other, smaller Methodist denominations.
Trinity United Methodist Church is listed in the National Register as part of the Historic York District, which says the following about the area:
The York Historic District consists of approximately 180 contributing properties located in the significant downtown commercial and residential areas of the town of York. Although there are numerous structures from the early settlement of the town, the majority were constructed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Established as the county seat, York has continuously served as a political center for York County. In 1785, the South Carolina Legislature enacted the establishment of York County. A centrally located site called Fergus Crossroads was chosen to be the county seat and became known as Yorkville. The name was shortened to York in 1915. The town incorporated in 1841.
At the eve of the Civil War, York had the second highest per capita income in the state and considered itself to be “the Charleston of the Upcountry.” During Reconstruction, York became a major center for Ku Klux Klan activities, and as a result, Federal troops were stationed in the town. The early 1890s saw the beginning of the growth of the textile industry in York and the presence of Cannon Mills and Spring Mills had a large effect of the town’s growing economic prosperity. Today, the York Historic District’s visual appearance is primarily that of a nineteenth and early twentieth century town. The District includes commercial, residential, religious, and industrial structures. Reflective of the different eras of the town’s development, these structures show a diversity of architectural forms, including Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Classical Revival, Victorian, Commercial, and Bungalow.