Christ Church in Riverton
Riverton, Burlington County
Main & Fourth Streets
founded 1855, built 1883-85
Riverton was laid out for residential plots on a strict grid perpendicular to the tracks of the Camden & Amboy railroad because it was to sold as very convenient to Philadelphia. It is not surprising then that a Philadelphia architect living in Riverton was selected to design a new church for the congregation. But that was almost 30 years after its organization.
For the first several years the congregation met in the parlor of a house loaned for that purpose, but occasionally on the threshing floor of a barn. In 1859 they built a small frame church at the corner of Main Street and Railroad Avenue, and a little later a rectory at Four & Main, the site of the present church.
In 1882, one of the members of the vestry was the above-mentioned architect, John Fraser. He was a partner is the prestigious firm of Fraser, Furness & Hewitt. The vestry reported, according to Woodward's correspondent, that "the condition of the church warrants the erection of a new, more substantial, and larger building. The need of such a structure is evident, and measures are in progress to 'edify' the church in a material sense, that in a spiritual [way] it may be built up and enlarged." In other words, refined taste is one expression of piety.
The building is an asymmetrical eclectic mix of Gothic and Romanesque elements, with a few touches of the Tutor (see the delightful chimney pots). The altar is oriented to the east, as a good Ecclesiology church should, and there is a fully-articulated chancel and an entrance through the tower. The clerestory windows were added in 1910.
The original church was given to the Episcopal congregation of Palmyra, and exists today on Parry Street, much augmented by later additions.