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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First Presbyterian Church
Newton, Sussex County

The early history of the Presbyterian Church in Newton is one of almost continuous financial troubles; the church was in debt—to builders as well as to its ministers—for most of its existence since it was organized in 1786. In 1790 it tried to raise money by a lottery, but that failed and shortly thereafter the church was sold at a sheriff’s auction. It took until 1818 to pay off the debts. A new church was built in 1828; I suspect that the religious revivals of the Second Great Awakening brought enough new members to attempt a larger church. By 1869, the congregation had outgrown that (it seated only 600!), and erected this exceptionally large building (64 x 98) which reputedly seats 1,000. The manner is a basic Wren-Gibbs design, but with many elements borrowed from the Romanesque and Italianate idioms. It is a most accomplished design by Charles Graham & Son of Trenton who also were the architects for the Presbyterian church in Blairstown—a very similar plan, and for the Simpson Methodist church in Perth Amboy.

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Copyright (c) 2003 Frank L. Greenagel