Ebenezar Methodist Episcopal Church
Auburn, Oldmans Township, Salem County
County Road 551
founded 1790, built 1899
Josephine Jaquett tells an interesting story of this congregation—that it erected its first church, a log structure, in 1790 on the Oldman's Creek Road where a cemetery now stands. "In 1865 a committee was appointed to investigate the purchase of a lot in the village, but the price of $30 seemed too much, so nothing was done until 1899, when the old church was moved and rebuilt where it stands today." Interesting, but improbable. Cushing writes (in 1883) that the [then] present church was built in 1842, and was called the New Ebenezer Church."
Clearly, this is not a rebuilt eighteenth-century log church; there was an intervening church that may have started as a log building, but this church was built from the ground up. The design is a basic L-shaped plan common to Methodist and Baptist churches from the mid-to-late nineteenth century. Gothic arch frames and muntins were widely manufactured in the state beginning about mid-century, so even a small congregation concerned about the financial obligation of building a church could afford to have a Gothic touch to its church. One of the nineteenth century ministers here was President of the Methodist Board of Church Extension, a body charged with improving the architecture of the denomination's buildings. It is highly likely that the plan for this was by Benjamin Price, who worked closely with that Board from the mid-1870s through the end of the century, and certainly would have been well-acquainted with this church's minister. The plan and decorative elements are very similar to several of his published designs.