The first known Episcopal service in Iowa City was when Missionary Bishop Jackson Kemper visited here on July 10, 1841. There were periodic visits by the Bishop and Missionary Priests until Trinity Parish was organized on August 7, 1853. The Reverend Willis H. Barris was appointed the first official Rector of Trinity on October 15, 1855. The congregation met in various locations until 1862 when the Parish acquired the former Athenaeum building and used it as a church until the completion of the present Church, which was first used for services on October 1, 1871.
The new building plan was attributed to design by Richard Upjon, but the structure more closely resembles a design by Bishop Randall of Colorado, a drawing of which was published in The Spirit of Missions in May 1867. The new Church was constructed on lot 7 and 8 of Block 62, purchased from Samuel M. Ballard and Sarah J. Ballard on August 13, 1868. During the years since 1871 the original building is mostly unaltered, although various Parish Halls and Educational Additions have been added.
Trinity Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 31, 1974.