The authoritative source on
  early churches of New Jersey

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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.

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   Photographic Inventory

First Presbyterian Church
Newark, Essex County

Newark was settled by Puritans moving down from Connecticut in 1666, which is the date the congregation was organized. A log meetinghouse was undoubtedly erected almost immediately, and sometime later, a larger, more formal church. This imposing building, often referred to as "Old First," with its Georgian windows and steeple, was put up under the direction of Eleazer Ball. It was begun before the Revolution, but work was suspended on it during the war and not resumed until 1787; it was opened for regular services in 1791. It is clearly in the Wren-Gibbs style, very likely modeled after the Old First church in Boston. National Register.
     The interior has been restored to an earlier condition—an early 19th century Georgian style—and is simply magnificent. Worth a detour.
     The minister at the time the church was built, Dr. McWhorter, thus described it: "Its dimensions are one hundred feet in length, including the steeple, which projects eight feet. The steeple is two hundred and four feet high; two tiers of windows, five in a tier, on each side; an elegant large venetian window in the rear, behind the pulpit; and the whole finished inside in the most handsome manner. In the Doric order. From the best estimate I can obtain," he adds "it cost about £9000, York currency."
     Although founded as a Congregational church, by 1720 it has switched to a Presbyterian affiliation, as had most of the early Congregational churches in the state.
National Register and HABS




Copyright (c) 200-2004 Frank L. Greenagel