Archdale-Trinity Chamber of Commerce

Trinity History

Although Trinity has only been incorporated since 1977, its history can be traced back to the early 1800s when four families settled the land around what is now called Trinity. Duke University can trace its beginning to the Trinity area with the building of Brown’s Schoolhouse in 1832. The school was built on the property of one of the community’s founding forefathers, with Allen Frazier as the first teacher. In 1839, the name was changed to Union Institute, a name selected because the Methodists and Quakers both supported it. Over the next 20 years, the school moved to new facilities, expanded those facilities and again changed its name. What began as Brown’s Schoolhouse became Trinity College in 1859. The college stayed in Trinity until 1892 when it moved to Durham and had one final name change to Duke University. Today, Duke is a national leader in medical research, scholarly achievements and college sports. A memorial gazebo stands on the original site and houses the bell from Trinity College.

Trinity’s small-town charter lapsed in 1924, but a group of residents organized to discuss the possibility of the incorporation of Trinity in 1995. In July of 1997, citizens voted to become a city. Trinity is comprised of nearly 17 square miles, and boasts a population of over 6,800. Trinity’s city officials are committed to improving the city’s infrastructure and project an increase in population of 10 to 15 percent over the next decade.


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