20. 3513 N Street (36th and N Street)

3513 N Street (36th and N Street)
Photo by Bob Rives

Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity Catholic church represents the oldest Catholic Church not only in Georgetown, but all of Washington, DC.  Established in 1787, the oldest portion of the current complex dates back to the 1790’s.  Holy Trinity served the growing Catholic community of Georgetown and the university nearby.  For most of the church’s existence, the congregation and priests followed the rules of segregation laid down by canon law.  African American worshipers at Holy Trinity entered through a side door, had to climb stairs and take communion after white parishioners.  The African American members of the parish found it difficult to get priests to come to the death-beds of ailing family members to issue last rights or to even baptize babies when they were born.  African American children in Sunday Schools were also not allowed to participate in festivals or parades.  The inequality experienced within Holy Trinity spurred a request in the early 1900’s for the establishment of a Catholic Church in the Herring Hill neighborhood of Georgetown.  This church, Epiphany Catholic, serves the Eastern half of Georgetown to this day.

(Source: National Park Service)