Trinity's Bells and Steeple
On April 6, 1856, five years before the Civil War, a committee was formed to look for a permanent home for Trinity. They found a lot at the corner of 3rd and Fulton, the action to move to this location was adopted unanimously. They then hired on George Kannenmacher to be the architect for the building. On June 8th of that year erection of a church began on the lot 56’ x 106’ in size. It's architecture is a traditional German Gothic style and serving as a visual entrance into Downtown Columbus to this day. The congregation had 250 regular members by this time. July 28, 1856 the cornerstone was laid, 8 ½ years after formation, with great joy over finally having a final home. Dedication of the new building occurred on December 20, 1857 just in time to celebrate Christmas in their new home, the basement was still unfinished still when they held their first service, also Trinity's building was without a bell tower or steeple and would remain this way for the first twenty years of its existence. The cost of building up to this point was $10,185 the congregation was $2,560 short of finishing the church. So the congregation took it upon themselves to raise the money through freewill offering, males of the church formed the Lutheran Brotherhood meeting monthly and paying 25 cents each time, and the women also formed the Ladies’ Aid Society meeting monthly also and paying 25 cents each time. Both the Lutheran Brotherhood and Ladies’ Aid Society set out to raise money.
The basement was finally finished in 1861 when the money was raised at last. In 1863 Trinity purchased an organ at $1,100. In 1866 the congregation proposed the opening of a parochial school and Mr. Ziegfield was called to be the teacher, he resigned in 1869 and the parochial school was closed. Congregation now up to 900 members.
On September 22, 1872 the congregation released their Pastor Lehmann to go be the 1st President of Capital University and their Head Professor of Theology.
The following June Pastor Richard Herbst was called at a salary of $1,200 a year. In 1876 under the pastorate of the Pastor Herbst the steeple and bell tower were added at a cost of $3,470.00. The tower has three bells, tall lancet window on each of its four sides and is topped with a six-sided steeple and a cross. The largest bell was a gift Mr. Nicholas Schlee; he was also responsible for giving $3,000 toward the steeple fund, the 2 smaller bells provided as a gift from the young people of the congregation.
Schlee was President of Schlee Brewery that was located at Livingston and Sycamore Schlee. He lived nearby in a house on Front street near the brewery, which is now the Germania Gesang und Sportverein. He was vice president of the Central Bank, later becoming the First National Bank. In 1894 a local hotel the Chittenden Hotel caught on fire, the fire took out most of a city block. A group of other prominent German businessmen under the leadership of Schlee rebuilt the hotel hoping to draw convention traffic to Columbus. The Great Southern Fireproof Hotel Co. was built and billed as “the safest building in the city” and it is now known as the Great Southern Westin. He was the largest financial supporter of Trinity at the time; he took over where Christian Heyl had left off.