Trinity Episcopal Church, Lime Rock, CTOffering Companionship Along the Way
Trinity Episcopal Church
484 Lime Rock Road
Lakeville, CT  06039
(860)435-2627
The Rev. Heidi Truax, Rector



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Trinity Lime Rock history

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 case.   

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!  The race track outside Trinity's BACK door 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.

1980s

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)

 

1960s

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 absolutely clear.)

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 it full-sized)

lrpa.jpg (445100 bytes)

 

 

1950s

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 for this...."
Trinity from Lime Rock Park 1950s
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. 25...."
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. Ebersol."]
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 reaction.  

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.

One thing 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.)

 

TODAY:

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.  Some views of "Our Backyard", formerly the Golden Rod Cycle Track 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.

Race track outside our back door to go to the page about the Race Track outside our BACK door

Welcome to Visitors to Lime Rock Park to go to the page on this website welcoming Lime Rock Park visitors to Trinity.

To the Lime Rock Park website to go directly to the Lime Rock Park website.

To the history section to go to the History page of the Trinity Lime Rock website.

 

Racing people are particularly welcome at Trinity Lime Rock!