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  early churches of New Jersey

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Methodist Episcopal Church of Palmyra


Palmrya, Burlington County
Broad Street
founded c.1840, built 1854
Palmyra Town Hall

Palmyra Methodist churchThe tall windows on the side of the municipal building in Palmyra are not ones you would normally find on such a structure—but they are characteristic of Methodist churches erected in the middle of the last century, and that's what the building originally was.

The front of the building is new, as is the cupola; little or nothing remains inside, but from the side and the rear, there is little doubt of its origins.

The congregation got its start about 1840 that met in members homes, typical for many early congregations. The found a building for Sunday school use soon thereafter, and in 1853 formally organized. The following year they erected this substantial brick church. The cemetery behind the church was opened with the sale of the first lot in 1857. Sale of burial plots was one of the important ways churches financed their expenses in the mid-nineteenth century. Sometime in the late 1870s the church was "remodeled, enlarged, and beautified," according to Woodward's correspondent.

In 1892, the congregation decided that the church needed to move its location due to frequent interruptions by trains traveling by. It was after that move that the congregation changed the name to Epworth Methodist Episcopal Church.

The town was laid out in 1850, when a developer's land was broken up into building lots to pay his debts. The street names match those of Center City Philadelphia - Market, Arch, Race, and Vine (from south to north), and Front Street and numbered streets from the Delaware River. What is now Palmyra was part of Chester Township, one of the original townships in Burlington County. Palmyra became a part of Cinnaminson Township when that township was set off from Chester in 1860. Palmyra Township was set off from Cinnaminson in 1894, and Palmyra was incorporated as a borough in 1923.

Woodward 297