The History of Trinity Lutheran Church & School
In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected president and the pony express rode across the west delivering mail. In York Center, Illinois, in 1860, 12 farm families founded Trinity Lutheran School. These families traveled each Sunday to Zion Lutheran Church in Bensenville, for worship. This trip was thought to be too great a distance for their young children to travel to attend school. The families joined together to provide the funds to hire a teacher and build a one room schoolhouse, in an act of faith and a resolve to daily educate their children in God’s word.
That building has been replaced by other buildings throughout the years, but the dedication of Trinity Lutheran Church congregation, founded in 1868, has continued. The church has been a beacon to the community at its visible location on the northeast corner of busy Roosevelt and Meyers Roads. The 100,000 vehicles that pass through the intersection daily cannot help but see the steeple, the stained-glass cross, and the historic Civil War era cemetery. Faithful in their worship and witness, the members of Trinity Lutheran Church have also remained steadfast in their support of the school. Through their commitment to Christian education and the work of the Holy Spirit, both the congregation and school grew.
Over the decades, the original one-room schoolhouse evolved. New buildings were added - in 1946 and 1975 (the largest section of the school), with additional offices and classrooms rooms built in 1990. New programs were developed, beginning with kindergarten (which eventually grew into a full-day program), preschool classes for three and four-year-olds, before and after school programs, and summer camps. Adjustments in the school environment were made for class sizes and additional staff was added for physical education, music instruction, and as support for the teaching staff. And as technology became a staple of learning, students acquired Chromebooks and the knowledge to utilize them (a real plus when classrooms went online during government imposed stay-home orders, shutting down schools for the last three and a half months of the 2019-2020 school year). Faithful teachers, committed to quality Christian education, have been the backbone of more than 160 years of education at Trinity Lutheran School.
Could those early settlers of York Center ever have imagined that their commitment to the instruction of God’s Word upon the hearts of children would carry through to the next century and beyond? Could they have imagined it would remain through wars and conflicts, a great depression, societal changes, and a modern pandemic? We know that God has been faithful and blessed the efforts of Trinity to nurture His children in the Christian faith these many years. May Trinity Lutheran Church and School continue to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to children, families, and adults, throughout the community. To God be the glory!
The Community in Which We Live and Serve
Trinity Lutheran Church and School is located at a busy intersection, on the edge of a neighborhood of homes. On the corners next to and across from Trinity are gas stations, fast food restaurants, and a pharmacy. The church and school take up the entire northeast block.
In an interesting historical footnote, the corner’s first stoplight came as a result of a civil action by the women of Trinity. In the 1950s, after a high school aged girl – a Trinity church member – was struck and killed by a car – Trinity moms took their strollers and formed a blockade, stopping traffic on Roosevelt Road until the county agreed to install traffic controls.
Trinity is almost equidistant between the I-355 North-South Tollway to the west and the I-294 Tri-State to the east (and right at the midpoint between north-south highway Routes 53 and 83). As working parents commute between the west side of Chicago and the far western suburbs, some find that Trinity is directly along their daily route. With Trinity’s extended care hours (from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.), this has proven to be the answer to the needs of many of our school families.
Enrollment at Trinity currently draws students from 17 different zip codes, including communities 10 miles to the east i.e. Bellwood, Berkeley, and Maywood, and those to the west e.g. Glendale Heights, Carol Stream, Bolingbrook, and West Chicago.
Trinity has evolved to reflect the changes in the surrounding community. As Lombard and nearby areas have become racially, culturally and economically more diverse – so has the school. While it’s true that there are still descendants of those buried in Trinity’s Civil War cemetery and those who can trace their roots back to the founding families, there are now also families of first generation immigrants, children from homes where English is not the primary language, and others who have migrated west out of Chicago’s urban environs.
Trinity has been, and continues to be, a pillar of the community, actively serving the area and bearing witness to the Gospel Good News of Jesus Christ, as it has done since 1860.