Trinity Episcopal Church
484 Lime Rock Road
Lakeville, CT 06039
The Rev. Heidi Truax, Rector
Trinity and Lime Rock Park...and before
Much has been made over the years about the
relationship between Lime Rock Park and Trinity Church. Some have
suggested that the relationship has occasionally been less than
neighborly. While there is much evidence that Trinity and Track have
coexisted amicably over last four decades, there is also evidence that
there have been difficult times in the relationship, particularly in the
Track's earliest years. Perhaps the reports of acrimony have been
exaggerated. We hope and would like to believe such is the
In any event, it is clear that Trinity Lime Rock
is no stranger to tests of speed. Indeed, Trinity has
been an immediate neighbor of racing facilities for over a century -- the
first recorded race track, right in Trinity's current back yard, began operations
in the 1880s!
to read about the race track outside Trinity's BACK door!
Here is some material from the Trinity Archives and
Vestry minutes for some decades in the more recent past.
As some historical evidence not only that there has been some acrimony in the
past, but also that both Lime Rock Park and Trinity Church have also long since extended
the hand of peace to each other, we offer this brief exchange of letters between
the then-Manager of the Track and the then-Rector of Trinity. The year was
1987, and the authors of the letters were the new Manager of Lime Rock Park, Jim
Shane, and the new Rector of Trinity Lime Rock, the Rev. William Holcomb.
We found the letters both enlightening and encouraging. We hope you
will as well.
(please click on each page to see it full-sized)
More than 20 years further back in Trinity's Archives -- the mid-1960s -- we saw a time when
memories of discord between the Track
and some members of the local Lime Rock community were far clearer. The irate
Lime Rock residents
had some years earlier formed an organization
called the "Lime Rock Protective Association". (Trinity Church
was emphatically not an original member of that organization. That much is
In August, 1965, one Mrs. James Adams, representing the LRPA, solicited Trinity Lime
Rock's signature on a letter complaining to local authorities about the
Track. While the LRPA's letter itself no longer survives in Trinity's
archives, the Church's response to the LRPA does. Trinity Lime Rock told the
Lime Rock Protective Association, in no uncertain terms, that they had absolutely no interest
in signing the LRPA's complaint against Lime Rock Park and would not do so.
(please click below on the letter from the Rector of Trinity to the LRPA to see
Relations between Trinity Church and Lime Rock Park
clearly hit their low point in the
late 1950s. The following are extracts from the Minutes of the Vestry
of Trinity Church. (The minutes book from which these entries are copied is too tightly bound to permit good
quality copying). Notes on the photo are below.
|Sunday, August 10, 1958
||"A meeting of the Vestry of Trinity
Church was held after the morning service on Sunday, August 10....The
Senior Warden spoke of the efforts of the Lime Rock Protective Association
to secure a restraining order from the court against the race track.
After careful discussion it was voted for the Church to sign the petition
|Sunday, August 24, 1958
||"A Special Meeting of the Vestry of
Trinity Church was held after morning service on Sunday, August 24.
Present were Mrs. Speiden, Mrs. Howell, Mrs. Christian, Mrs. Fales, Walker,
Cimino, Blake, Howard, Lorch, Carlsen. Mr. Walker reported on the
meeting held last Monday of the Lime Rock Protective Association, and of
Judge Ebersol's comment regarding the hardship suffered by the residents of
Lime Rock as a result of the Lime Rock race track activities, together with
the testimony of the residents who are seeking an injunction against the
track. The Clerk read a paper for the Church to act upon as an
additional plaintiff against the track should such action be deemed
advisable by the Parish. After discussion, it was voted that the
Vestry recommends that action by the Parish be taken at the meeting on Aug.
|Monday, August 25, 1958
||"A Special Parish Meeting of Trinity
Church was held on Monday, August 25, at 8 p.m. 38 were
present. The Clerk read the call for the meeting, and also read a
petition for the Church as plaintiff, seeking to enjoin the Lime Rock race
track, as drawn up by Judge [corrected in ink to "Mr."] Ebersol,
for the Church to join with other plaintiffs in Lime Rock, should the
Parish so vote. Mr. Walker took over the meeting, and reported on the
meeting of the Lime Rock Protective Association [corrected in ink to
"Lime Rock Protection Committee"], as the plaintiffs who are
seeking to enjoin the race track, held last week. It was moved that
the Clerk draw up a letter to the Commissioner of the State Police, urging
more rigorous enforcement of the laws against noisy mufflers and speeding,
when these affect Church services. Mr. Blake advised caution at this
time when there is no Rector in residence, also when support of the Bishop
would be difficult to obtain, as well as hazard of counter suit against the
Church as not having suffered provable injury by the race track and
attendant activities, and therefor subject to individual court
action. Mr. Walker moved that the Church join with the others as
plaintiff against the race track, subject to approval of the Bishop and
that of the new rector, as soon as these approvals may be obtained.
This was voted. [added in ink "unanimously"]. The
Clerk again read the proposed complaint against the race track, and
paragraphs 13 to 19 were approved individually, also adding to paragraph 18
'members of the parish were also disturbed while making repairs to the
rectory'[.] It was voted to empower the Vestry to make such changes
and additions to the complaint that might be suggested by the Bishop or the
rector. The meeting adjourned 9.50."
|Friday, September 5, 1958
||"A Special Meeting of the Vestry of
Trinity Church was held on Friday, September 5, at 8 p.m. Present
were: Mr. MacIntosh, Mrs. Christian, Mrs. Williams, Messrs. Fales,
Howard, Lorch, Walker, Blake, Cimino, Myers, Carlsen....The Clerk read the
papers drawn up by Judge [in ink, "Mr."] Ebersol for the
plaintiffs in the proposed injunction against the race track, and also the
paper drawn up for the Church to act upon should it be so
voted. The Senior Warden reported on his meeting with the
Bishop yesterday, and spoke of the Bishop concurring in the belief that it
would be advisable for Trinity Church to join in the protest against the
activities of the race track as affecting the Church. The Clerk was
directed to include the Bishop's comment in the minutes of this
meeting. A discussion was held on the problem. The Rector
stated that the stand of the Bishop carries great weight, and that the
duties and activities of the Church are not confined to the hour of Sunday
morning worship, and that he concurs in the Bishop's opinion. It was
moved that the Clerk be directed to advise Judge Ebersol of the motion of
the Special Parish Meeting, and of the concurrence of the Bishop and of the
Rector in that motion. [in ink: "Approved at a Special Vestry
meeting, 12 n., Sunday, Dec. 7, 1958, with the correction that it be Mr.
|Sunday, January 11, 1959
||"A meeting of the Vestry of Trinity
Church was held after the morning service of Sunday, January 11....The
question was raised as to contributions from the Church as members to the
Lime Rock Protective Association, as the Church is a participant in the
protest against the race track. It was decided to speak of this at
the Annual Parish Meeting...."
The elegant photo above cane to
Trinity on the occasion of the funeral of John Fitch, racer, inventor, Lime Rock
park designer and manager, and, in his final years, Trinity parishioner.
We date this familiar view of track and church as the 1950s, before the
pedestrian overpass, before the hedge along Route 112, and before the trees
(including the Lime Rock Christmas tree, which now towers over the church) that
now adorn the front of Trinity. The same view today is on our main Lime Rock
Page; click HERE
to see it.
There is no question that some members of Trinity were not totally
objective at this point; in fact, the cold eye of history makes it fairly clear
that at least some of the parishioners were hyperventilating. Witness the following quote from the minutes of
August 25: "members of the parish were also disturbed
while making repairs to the rectory". One suspects that while
they may have been "disturbed", it was not the sounds of auto engines
that disturbed them that day, but rather incendiary talk among the
volunteers. One would like to know what events triggered such a
A recent off-the-record comment to the webmaster by a State Police
officer of those times tells of one Lime Rock neighbor (NOT a Trinity parishioner,
according to the informant) who was in such a state of
frenzy about the Track that the State Police had a cruiser and two officers on
standby each race weekend in the event that this neighbor attempted something
violent. We do not know this person's name, and thus cannot say with
certainty that he was not a member of Trinity, but one might suspect that if he was, he might have
tried to stir up discontent within the parish.
Another recent off-the-record comment by an individual who was
occasionally working in the pits at the track in the very late 1950s and early
1960s, after the cessation of Sunday racing, was that he had been told that
"some moron went out at 10 a.m. one Sunday and ran wide open for two full
hours while they were trying to have church across the street." Yet it
seems unlikely that a single incident of this nature could have provoked the entire
congregation as well as the Bishop without considerable "encouragement"
from someone else with an axe to grind against the Track.
we're sure of: dissatisfaction with Lime Rock Park was not entirely about
the noise of race cars. John Wedda, in his New England Worships
(Random House, 1965), page 77, says "...church services were disrupted by the
lack of parking space for the churchgoers and by the roar of speeding cars."
(emphasis ours). In the early days of Lime Rock Park, little attention had
been paid to providing convenient parking for visitors, so many no doubt parked
on the roads, including Dugway Road -- also a favorite parking place for Trinity
parishioners in the years before Trinity acquired Reid Field. One supposes
that parishioners arriving for Sunday services who found "their" parking space
occupied were irate before they even got out of their automobiles, and were thus
ripe to be further enraged by the sounds of racing. (Today, of
course, Trinity owns Reid Field, and not only has far more parking space than we
could ever use, and also provides the field to the Track for overflow parking.)
It's easy to see today where The Golden Rod Cycle Track was -- it
was in Trinity's field -- our so-called "backyard" -- and while the
outline of the track cannot be seen today, the field is both reasonably well
drained and flat as a pancake.
to see some recent photos of "Our backyard". It is familiar to many
Lime Rock Park visitors, of course, as overflow parking for the track.
One Trinity Lime Rock parishioner recently wrote:
Racing has been our
neighbor as long as there has been a Trinity Church; indeed our founder,
William H. Barnum, loved to race -- horses, in his case. The
current Track, Lime Rock Park, is a good neighbor and a generous citizen of
the community. Its gifts, both public and private, to the
community over the years have been enormous. The track is a good
employer, and it has been scrupulously considerate of the Church in every
way I can think of. During "the season" we frequently see
race fans and others associated with Lime Rock Park in church, and we are
delighted to welcome them.
While Scripture tells us that if there is
an affront we must "turn the other cheek", in the case of Lime
Rock Park it appears that if there was any affront it occurred nearly half
a century ago, and after all this time we certainly ought to be able to
easily turn the other cheek if this is needed. However, it would be
great to avoid all this
cheek-turning and simply rely on our Scriptural duty to "love our
neighbor as ourselves."
I happen to believe that it's not a
coincidence that Trinity Lime Rock is right across the street from Lime Rock
Park. At the very least it's clear that our Christian duty here at
Trinity is to "be there" for all of the people of Lime Rock Park.
I personally would like to know of more things we can do for the
people of Lime Rock Park.
to go to the page about the Race Track outside our BACK door
to go to the page on this website welcoming Lime Rock Park visitors to Trinity.
to go directly to the Lime Rock Park website.
to go to the History page of the Trinity Lime Rock website.