The authoritative source on
  early churches of New Jersey

About this site
We've created a database and photographic inventory on more than half the 18th & 19th century churches in the state and add to it each month. We welcome and solicit all contributions and suggestions from our visitors.

How to use this site
Respond to readers' queries
Consult the database
Annotate the database
Upload a photo
Suggest a church for inclusion

List of churches, by county

Photographic notes
Links to related sites
Bulletin Board

   churchscape books

As I got closer to my goal of a complete inventory of the churches in a particular area I realized that this website was not sufficient to tell the story of a county's churchscape. Here the images are viewed one by one, out of any chronological sequence, and there is no unifying essay to highlight the county's development, or the influences and trends that are reflected in the churchscape. I therefore determined to create a book for each county, regardless of whether there was a market for those books.
     Software such as Adobe's PageMaker and Acrobat programs make it relatively easy to layout a book and put it in a format that can be reproduced at Kinko's or on one's own printer. Beginning with the inventory of the churches in Hunterdon County three years ago, I created my first such book, then revised it several times as my understanding was enriched by work in other counties. The extended essay that begins that book outlines the settlement of the county, giving particular emphasis to those factors that shaped the churchscape. That included the national origins and religion of the early settlers and the later immigrants, the low population density of the county, revivals and itinerant preachers, the availability of building materials and skilled artisans, as well as regional and national architectural fashions. The building of canals and railroads and the rising affluence of the county's residents also had a material impact, and I wanted to knit these influences together into a coherent explanation of how and why the churches are located where they are and why they look the way they do. And why the churchscape of Hunterdon is different from that of any adjacent county. I am satisfied that first book, Less Stately Mansions, accomplishes what I had envisioned.
     As the inventory of each county's churchscape was completed, I organized the churches chronologically, then dummied up a book, and spent some time to tease out observations and generalizations specific to that county. Many churches have changed affiliation as well as their name, and some buildings are now occupied by other congregations, all of which is an important part of the historical record and much is in danger of being forgotten. Indeed, I have identified at least a dozen churches in Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren that were apparently unknown to the counties' official surveys or historical societies.  
     A 12,000-15,000 word essay accompanies the photographic inventory, sketching the county's settlement, religious patterns and practices, and the influential events and activities that shaped the churchscape, such as the folkways, the efforts of the SPG, itinerant preachers and revivals, or the extension of a railroad line or canal. A list of all surviving churches, by date of construction and by municipality is included, together with some narratives of early organization, construction, or religious practices appropriate to each county. Each book has a glossary of architectural terms, bibliography and index.

Somerset, Warren and Sussex followed Hunterdon at the rate of about one book every six to ten months. Morris is now complete, although I expect I will be making changes over the next several weeks, or at least until I begin working on another county. My intention is to produce a complete inventory of the state's 18th and 19th century churches, synagogues and meetinghouses, county by county—a task that will probably occupy me for the next seven years.
I attempted to obtain a grant to publish the books in a standard format, but that was turned down, in part because the information is available on this website. Nevertheless, several librarians who had assisted my efforts asked if I could make printed versions available in addition to the CDs I had, in several cases, given them. Moreover, there is a small but interested audience for a printed book among attendees at the dozen or so lectures I give every year on the topic, so I decided to make these books available via the website. I am doing so with considerable reluctance, more or less as a test of the market, and may withdraw this offer at any time because I absolutely hate, loathe and detest the amount of driving around, packaging, labeling, and record keeping this entails. And there is no money in it. But my work will reach a wider audience, and that is the over-riding issue. The prices below are basically what I pay Kinko's for a single copy of each book.
     If you want a book or CD, send me an e-mail ( telling me what you want (specify book or CD). I will reply with the cost and approximate shipping date. You will then need to return to this page and click on the PayPal link, which is the only way I will accept payment. I do not like being hard-nosed about this, but I need to minimize the hassle and irritation as much as possible.

Here's a typical two-page spread (from the Somerset book) which you can download and print to test how the PDF file will print:

All books contain a two-page spread on each of the old churches in the county, plus 10-12 other churches from adjacent counties that were mother-daughter churches or in some other aspect important to the churchscape of the subject county. The books are 8½ x 11 inches, softbound, printed by high speed Xerox. Although the images were scanned at very high resolution (900-1200 dpi), the reproduction quality is only "acceptable," comparable to an average magazine; low cost rather than high image quality was the overriding consideration. I would rather do a coffee-table book with duotone images printed on heavy coated paper, but the cost of such a publication would exceed $75,000 and that is out of the question.

Hunterdon. Less Stately Mansions: A Photographic Inventory of the Old Churches of Hunterdon County, New Jersey. 384 pages; with approximately 215 black & white photographs, map, glossary, bibliography, index. Book price: $50. CD with PDF file $25.


Morris. The Morris Churchscape: a photographic inventory of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Churches of Morris County, New Jersey.
Approximately 400 pages, with approximately 250 black & white photographs, map, glossary, bibliography, index. Book Price: $50. CD with PDF file: $25.00

Somerset. The Somerset Churchscape: A Photographic Inventory of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Churches of Somerset County, New Jersey. 211 pages, with approximately 130 black & white photographs, map, glossary, bibliography, index. Book Price: $30. CD with PDF file, $25.


Warren. The Warren Churchscape: A Photographic Inventory of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Churches of Warren County, New Jersey. 256 pages, with approximately 140 black & white photographs, map, glossary, bibliography, index. Book price $30. CD with PDF file $25.

Sussex. The Sussex Churchscape: A Photographic Inventory of the Nineteenth Century Churches of Sussex County, New Jersey. Approximately 124 pages, with approximately 70 black & white photographs. Book price $30. CD with PDF file $25.



A cd-rom containing all five northwestern counties (Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren) in a PDF format is available for $75.

A PDF file is a computer-format that presents each page in a book in exactly the layout and fonts the designer specified, regardless of what software and fonts are present on the user's system. The entire book may be printed from that file on the user's printer, or at service centers like Kinko's and Staples. I have printed all the books offered for sale from PDF files at Kinko's. The quality is not what one would get if they were printed by a quality publisher, but it is more than acceptable given the modest cost. If you print it yourself, note that the paper quality will affect the sharpness of the images, as well as the opacity. All printing will be done to order and should be available in two weeks. Shipment will be by the US Postal Services Express Mail, with a receipt requested. The cost for that is $__, which will be added for every book or combination of CD's ordered.
      People will have to put up with some inconvenience in the handling of orders. I have no shipping department, no accounts payable or customer service; I will have to handle all details of purchase and fulfillment, as well as going to the printer and packing the books or CDs. I haven't done that before and as you can tell, I do not relish the idea. But this website attracts a sizeable audience so I'm willing to give it a try.