website was created to make available contemporary photographs,
there are too many interesting churches that have disappeared—except
on old albumen prints or in engravings made for pre-1900 books
and magazines. We solicit such images from our readers and will
reproduce at least one every month, along with such historical
information as we can find about these vanished churches.
If you would like to see an image
in your possession on this site, we are pleased to receive your
own scans, or you may send us the photograph and we will create
a high resolution scan and return the image to you with a copy
of the scan and our thanks!
River Methodist Episcopal Church
South River, Middlesex County
don't know whether the building exists today, but the church is an
interesting one. Notice the half-basement, which is an indication
the building was erected after 1860 or so. That's when churches had
taken on a variety of functions--not only Sunday Schools, but prayer
groups, women's meetings, even cultural and recreational activities.
Some congregations added on to their churches, but a few dug
new basements to house the activities. And a church erected after
the Civil War frequently was designed to have meeting rooms on the
ground floor and the auditorium (the sanctuary in modern parlance)
on the second floor.
Given the design of the belfry and steeple, I believe
the church was built in the 1870s. There are a few Greek Revival elements, but
the interrupted return on the bottom of the pediment is from a later date.