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  early churches of New Jersey

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Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church
Boonton, Morris County


The design of the Mt. Carmel church is a common one, based on that of St. James the Less in Philadelphia, erected fourteen years earlier. That design made a profound impression on Richard Upjohn, a leading Gothic Revival architect who designed churches mainly for Episcopal congregations, but whose designs were widely influential among other denominations. The basic characteristics of the plan are a symmetrical gable-front building with a steeply-pitched roof line, lancet windows, a bellcote, and substantial buttresses projecting from the front of the church. There is only the barest suggestion of a tower, and where the liturgy dictated aisles, they could be accommodated within the slope of the roofline. The main entrance is occasionally placed on the long side, leaving the façade available for a large window. It is a form that we can see in Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Episcopal churches as well as Roman Catholic, and one adaptable to stone, brick and wooden construction. This design was substantially copied , albeit on a slightly larger scale, in St. Joseph’s church in Bound Brook (Somerset), erected twenty years later.
     Land for the church was given by the New Jersey Iron Company, which, technically, ought to mean this was a "miner's church," but I have never seen it refered to as such. This is the congregation's second building, which was erected across the street from the first; that one was built in 1847-48, and this 12 years later, in 1860. The architect was Jeremiah O’Rourke, who designed hundreds of other Catholic churches in the country, but in this case, borrowed a bit from Upjohn.




Copyright (c) 2001 Frank L. Greenagel