A solemn ceremony last week saw the venerable Trinity Church in the Van Deusenville section of Great Barrington deconsecrated, and the way cleared for a new career for the stately structure.

Mrs. Mary D. Pelkey of Lenox purchased the church and its one-acre plot last week from St. James' Church in Great Barrington and is planning to convert the building into a combination work studio and residence for her daughter and son-in-law. Her daughter, Alice Brock, is an artist, and her son-in-law, Ray Dean Brock, is a sculptor and architect. They will establish studios in the main part of the church. The three levels of the bell tower will be made into living quarters. They will use the studio as a retreat from New York City on weekends and during the summer.

The 97-year-old structure has been out of service as a center for worship since 1947. In 1909, vestrymen agreed to close the church during the winter, and after 1919 services during the summer were conducted sporadically. The white frame building had been constructed on the premise that Van Deusenville was destined for a prominent place in the economic sun. However, the dreams never came to being and use of the church diminished. The regular parishioners were taken into the St. James' Church in Great Barrington and the old building was boarded up.

Mrs. Pelkey said she is planning the preserve the general architecture of the impressive building. She will keep all original stained glass windows in place. It might be necessary to create a couple of new windows for more light. The bell will be kept in its place in the bell tower. "The Brocks can ring it when their children get married," Mrs. Pelkey said.

Included in the sale were 12 pews of fine natural chestnut. Mrs. Pelkey said these will be used by the new owners wherever possible. There is an organ in the church, but Mrs. Pelkey isn't certain about its musical worthiness.

Mrs. Pelkey emphasized that the building will be a work studio. There will be nothing commercial about it. She feels the sanctity of the building should be preserved to some extent.

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.