The historic Holy Trinity Church, located just south of Kimball, is a landmark beloved by I-90 travelers and exemplary of the Bohemian religious architecture Czech immigrants brought to Brule County.
Pictured here on a snowy March day, the church was originally built in the town of Bendon. The Brule County Historical Society acquired the building in 1982 to spare it from destruction and had it moved to Kimball, where it stands beside the South Dakota Tractor Museum. The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
Ethnic Czechs began emigrating to Brule county from Bohemia, as well as from other parts of South Dakota, in 1879. The Holy Trinity Church has been dated to either 1893 or 1895, “built under the direction of chief carpenter Fred Shereda, who was assisted by members of the Bohemia Catholic Union, including John F. Konecny and Joseph Kott,” according to documents filed by the Brule County Historical Society.
Holy Trinity was a cornerstone of the Bendon community until the 1970’s. By then, like several other small towns in Brule County, Bendon was largely abandoned. The last Mass at Trinity was held in 1977.
Architectural features include Gothic lancet windows and doorway and a pyramidal roof atop the steeple. Holy Trinity’s somber mystique and present location just off the I-90 make it something of a go-to symbol of Plains desolation, and as such its image has, and will likely continue to circulate far more widely than if it had remained in Bendon.