The authoritative source on
  early churches of New Jersey

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Fisk African Methodist Episcopal Church
Fair Haven, Monmouth County

Clinton Fisk was a general in the Union Army during the Civil War, a banker, and the Prohibition Party candidate for President of the United States in 1888. He was also the founder of Fisk University, a predominantly black college in Nashville, and while residing in Rumson he was the principal donor of the funds to build this chapel as well as an adjoining school for black children. He also donated to the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Rumson and started a Methodist Sunday School in his home in 1876.
     The building is a T-shape plan, common among Methodist and Baptist churches, with tall narrow windows and a double-door entrance. There is a shed roof over the entry porch, added later, which rises four steps from the ground, and a large stained glass window above the entrance. The transepts contain the pastor’s office and the choir room. The building has a tin ceiling, painted white, and dark varnished wainscotting. It was moved to this site
in 1975. The building is owned by the Bethel African Methodist Church of Fair Haven, and long served as the principal social center of the black community. When the Borough acquired it in 1974 (the congregation having
outgrown it and moved to a larger one) they used it for a community
center for 25 years, then closed it and were prepared to demolish it despite its place on state and national historic registers. Members of the historical society fought that move and raised more than $400,000 for its renovation.
Fair Haven once had a substantial black community, but that has largely changed in recent years.




Copyright (c) 2005 Frank L. Greenagel