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First Baptist Church of Sussex
Sussex, Sussex County


Unconventional is hardly the word for this delightful building at the most prominent intersection in town. The stepped gable, squat turrets, and curve of the arch wheere the central entrance would normally be are the most distinctive individual elements. The tower and belfry are more conventional, although there are few churches in the state that have a clock in the tower. That is a New England convention that was little used here. Although atypically symmetrical, the gables, turrets, pinnacles, and windows show the architect was willing to use all decorative elements available. I suspect at the church had a variety of shingles rather than clapboards, as that would have been consistent with the style of the building.
     About 1777 a number of Baptists worshipping in Hardyston but living in Wantage (Sussex) formed a congregation known as the Papakating Baptist Church of Wantage. Papakating is a small crossroads with an old cemetery just south of Sussex, so I assume this is the same congregation. Its name was changed to the First Baptist Church of Sussex sometime after this building was erected.

See George F. Love (1874) and Reverend James Bristow (1903), History of the First Baptist Church of Wantage, Sussex, New Jersey. N.P.: W.J. Coulter, 1955.




Copyright (c) 2004 Frank L. Greenagel