“The Circle” was the central focus of the campground where thousands would gather to worship outdoors, in the two prayer pavilions and Tabernacle. It remains the heart of the Mount Tabor community.
Trinity Park, or as it was commonly known, “The Circle,” was the chief point of interest upon the grounds because it was here the public services were held. It was the physical and spiritual center of the community.
It was reported in 1877 that “the Circle will seat 4,000 people and within hearing of the services 8,000 people can congregate. There have been times in the past when no less than 12,000 people have been packed within this enclosure.”
A cast iron fountain was put in place at the top of Trinity Park in 1875 at a cost of $225. A lovely addition to the campgrounds, the fountain was described in A Story of Camp Meeting, by Mary Harriott Norris, as “…tossing aloft its sparkling waters, refreshing the ferns and flowers which clustered around its basin.”
Long after many others had built cottages on their lots, Dr. Lowrie’s family continued to enjoy the pleasures of tent living. Dr. Lowrie, of Bloomfield, was a prominent leader of the campground. He served as president of the Camp Meeting Association board from 1887 to 1896 and ran the Young People’s Services.
His dwelling was described in the Mt. Tabor Daily Record: “At the other side of the fountain is the delightful residence… a tent in the foreground and a cottage in the rear. It strikes one very pleasantly, especially with its suggestive name, ‘Sweet Home.’ There are other places on the grounds more pretentious, and some which are more elegant, but there is none more artistic than this.”
The FitzGerald cottage was described in 1877 as: “a very commodious and well-arranged cottage on the South side. She takes up her residence in the upper story and devotes the lower part to special public meetings upon the subject of holiness.” And in 1882: “The deeply spiritual meetings held during the years at Mrs. FitzGerald’s hospitable cottage, on Morris Avenue, will be continued this year as usual. They open at 8 a.m. and 1 and 6 p.m. thus coming between other regular meetings. They are in fact as in the name “Holiness Meetings”, many earnest souls here seeking a higher life. Mrs. Fitzgerald’s roomy cottage is very generally filled by those whose spiritual life is refreshed and strengthened at the foot of the cross, while frequently the interest is so great the congregation extends out on the avenue.
A plaque in the Tabernacle honors her contribution to the religious life of early Mount Tabor.