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early churches of New Jersey
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Broadway Methodist Church
Salem, Salem County
The Broadway Methodist church is one of the finer examples of this design, which was a common one, especially in South Jersey around the middle of the nineteenth century. Old St. George's Methodist church in Philadelphia almost certainly served as the basic model for this style, as it is found in almost a dozen Methodist churches in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. That building is considered the "mother church" for Methodists in this country. Similar ones may be found in Burlington, Vincentown, Cedarville, Florence, Belvidere, and Easton (Pennsylvania). A few hundred yards east of this building is the strikingly similar Memorial Baptist church (Broadway and 7th), and at the edge of town on Yorke Street, the Mt. Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal church. There are variations in all, but the basic form is consistent—a three bay, two story building with a shallow-pitched roof and a prominent pediment. Many have a wide cornice with widely-spaced dentils and an exaggeratedly-deep pediment; some, like this, have brick pilasters along the side as well as the front of the church. Windows may be rectangular or round-arch, but never Gothic. The triple window above the entrance is a common convention.
Meeting rooms are on the ground floor, and the sanctuary on the second, with a gallery on three sides. The articulated chancel here is probably original, as that element was a much-noted feature during the mid-nineteenth century.
This congregation was a daughter of the First Methodist church in town, probably organized when enthusiasms prompted by revivals swelled church rolls.