The authoritative source on
  early churches of New Jersey

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First Presbyterian Church of Morristown
Morristown, Morris County


Founded in 1733 as the Presbyterian Church of West Hanover by portions of the congregation in Whippany. The church was granted a charter by the King in 1756. This Romanesque revival building, the fourth on the commons, was erected in 1893. The architect was J. Cleveland Cady, who did a similar church for a Presbyterian congregation in Ithaca, New York. There are many Romanesque Revival details, but the style has clearly veered away from the style popularized by H.H. Richardson several decades earlier.
     The history of this congregation is unusually well documented by Diane and John Anderson in Celebrate: A History of the Presbyterian Church in Morristown, NJ, 1733-1983, published in 1984, and the building of it is detailed by Janet Foster’s J.C. Cady and his Masterpiece - The Construction of the Presbyterian Church in Morristown (1994).
      The previous church, a large wooden frame building of traditional New England design, had been erected in 1790. Its white oak frame, from "timbers cut in the old moon," required 200 men working several days to raise. It was torn down in 1893 and used to build a barn in Passaic county (or in Harding Township—the sources are contradictory).
     In 1840, the congregation was split over the issue of slavery (although there were very few slaves in Morris county compared to a substantial number in Somerset county), and a new congregation was formed; see South Street Presbyterian church. The congregations were reunited in 1925 as the Presbyterian Church of Morristown and this building was refered to as the Church on the Green (although there is also a Methodist church on the green).




Copyright (c) 2001 Frank L. Greenagel