No. 60 June-July 2006
The authoritative source on
early churches in 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.

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Architects and builders
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List of churches, by county

Photographic notes
Links to related sites

Vintage photographs

Although the 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!

South River Methodist Episcopal Church
South River, Middlesex County

I 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.




Copyright © 2006 Frank L. Greenagel