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early churches of New Jersey
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Pilesgrove Presbyterian Church
Pittsgrove Towsnhip, Salem County
A century after the Old Pilesgrove Presbyterian church was erected the congregation built its replacement just a few hundred yards away. Construction actually began in 1864, but shortages of labor and materials caused by the Civil War delayed the completion until 1867.
This is a two-story, three-bay brick building in the Romanesque style. The round-arch windows and the blind arcading along the cornices are the major elements that distinguish it from a Gothic church. In actuality, the plan is based on a Wren-Gibbs design that was first introduced in this country about 1720 in Boston. The symmetrical front with a modest pediment and projecting tower is a basic Christopher Wren plan, to which pilasters, an accentuated cornice and modest brackets supporting the eaves are added. The triple window in the tower over the entrance seems to be a regional tradition. The contractor-builder was Joseph Allen, of Salem; the building cost about $25,000.