authoritative source on
early churches of New Jersey
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First Presbyterian Church
Newark, Essex County
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
The interior has been restored to an earlier
conditionan early 19th century Georgian styleand 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