The authoritative source on
  early churches of New Jersey

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

Wright Memorial Presbyterian Church

Barnegat , Ocean County
founded 1876, built c.1870

The Wright Memorial Presbyterian Church of Barnegat was organized as a Presbyterian congregation in 1876. They purchased an existing building—the Union Hall, a music hall/opera house erected sometime after the Civil War, for their church. The building was called Union Hall because Barnegat was then the Township of Union.
        A new music hall was built on the next block; it became a silent movie theater and is no longer there. A correspondent name Ed (no last name given) supplied the above information, and added these notes:

When one goes to the room behind the pulpit, there are still two large doors. The doors are the whole width of the entire building. They used to open revealing the stage used by the singers. The doors are no longer used, but still readily seen.

Shortly after purchasing the building, a family of the church made a donation so that the steeple could be erected, making it look more like a church building.

The Church is named after Rev. Wright, an early pastor of the church whose first congregation was in Dodge City. He was protected in that town from the gunslingers by Bat Masterson. We have a congenial letter from Masterson to Rev.Wright.

Normally I do not include any building that was not originally erected as a church, but I'm making an exception here because of the interesting history.