Dutch Reformed Church
Neshanic, Somerset County
Founded in 1759, construction
began in that year,
but was not completed until 1772. During those twelve years the building probably
changed shape; the recollections of a nineteenth century resident described the
church in Revolutionary War days as a square building with a hipped roof, above
which was a weathervane. Its initial shape may have somewhat resembled the reconstructed
Dutch Reformed church in Johnson Park in Piscataway. Almost as wide as it is
long, the church is unusual in several respects—its Gothic arch windows
rest directly on the front doors, and the central window is Palladian-inspired.
The central entrance is recessed slightly (in antis, is the architectural term
for it) and bears Roman Doric columns, and there is a cupola atop the small tower
instead of a steeple.
The building was repaired in 1805 and 1832, although the nature and extent of
the repairs is unknown. It is safe to conclude that this is not how the church
would have appeared to a passerby in 1772, but is nevertheless a delightful surprise
when coming upon it for the first time. National Register.
See Ursula C. Brecknell, Hillsborough:
An Architectural History. Neshanic,
New Jersey: Township of Hillsborough Historic Preservation Committee,