The authoritative source on
  early churches of 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.

How to use this site
Post a query
Respond to readers' queries
Consult the database
Annotate the database
Upload a photo
Suggest a church for inclusion

List of churches, by county

Photographic notes
Links to related sites

   Photographic Inventory

First Presbyterian Church of Hanover
East Hanover, Morris County


This fine wood frame building was erected in 1835, and its architectural significance is usually overlooked. Although described as a "splendid example of a country church," I believe its antecedents are more interesting than that spare characterization.
    Hanover Township, which then included Whippany and Parsippany, was settled before 1700, most certainly by Puritans from Newark, Elizabeth and New England. The first church erected in the region, a Presbyterian one, was in Whippany in 1718, and 40 years later the congregation decided to abandon that building and erect two new churches, one in Hanover Neck (now Hanover) and the other on the old burying ground in Parsippany. Only a small part of the congregation went to the Parsippany church, so this is generally regarded as the "mother" congregation for all the Presbyterian churches in the area.
   My initial impression was that it had surely had a "facelift" since its erection, as the Greek Revival pediment dates to a later era, as does the Gothic belfry. I am now inclined to think that it follows fairly closely the design of several Congregational churches in Connecticut. The larger projection with the two Gothic windows is clearly derived from the New England style of the 1790-1830s, and both the entry portico and the belfry were common elements in Connecticut churches; there is no reason to assume cultural isolation during this period.
     Most sources
say the architect-builder was Elijah Hopping, who also built the Presbyterian churches in Whippany and New Vernon, and the three churches have much in common, but this one looks to New England more strongly than the others. It is located at Mt Pleasant Avenue and East Hanover Road in East Hanover.
     If you are really serious about architectural influences, see Frederick Kelly's book, Early Connecticut Meetinghouses: Being an Account of the Church Edifices Built Before 1830 (Columbia University Press, 1948); it's available at the Morristown/MorrisTownship Library.




Copyright (c) 2002 Frank L. Greenagel