The authoritative source on
  early churches of New Jersey

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We've created a database and photographic inventory on more than three-fourths of the 18th & 19th century churches in the state and add to it more or less each month. We welcome and solicit all corrections, contributions and suggestions from our visitors.


St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church


Rahway, Union County
Main Street
founded 1851, built 1888

St Mary'sSaint Mary's was founded in Rahway in 1846 (their website says 1851) and this substantial red brick Gothic building was erected in 1888. It was designed by Jeremiah O'Rourke, who designed at least a dozen other churches in the state and many more throughout the country. The tower appears to be slotted, but the slots are merely a series of quite elongated windows with round arches. The long nave with a row of clerestory windows and a substantial tower offset to one side was a plan O'Rourke employed for several of his churches in the state. Notice also the round entrance openings and the round arch windows—a Romanesque convention in an otherwise Gothic church. The clerestory windows are also interesting—triple windows almost Palladian-like.
O'Rourke was born in Ireland and trained at Dublin's School of Design before immigrating to the U.S., where he settled in Newark about 1850. He worked for 9 years as a draftsman, drawing plans for a local builder, until opening his own office in 1859. He designed his first church in the early 1860s, and in 1870 made an extensive tour of French and English churches. He was the initial architect involved in the design of Newark's Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, although two others would serve in that capacity before the building was completed in 1954.
Now operating as a joint parish with St. Mark's as the Divine Mercy Parish. It appears that most of the masses, in Spanish as well as English are held in this church.