Follow Friday: The New Jersey Churchscape

Having grown up in New Jersey, I’m an old hand at observing our bizarrely fractured PR image. You can be standing on a beautiful mountain trail or biking alongside a serene canal, and meet somebody who still can’t resist weighing in on how tacky Jersey is, seeing as it’s overflowing with Sopranos, Real Housewives and Jersey Shore punks, blah-blah-blah.

The Seventh-Day Baptist Church in Plainfield, NJ. From "New Jersey Churchscape."

“But you’re in New Jersey,” you’ll point out, gesturing at the peaceful, sublime landscape all around.

“Oh, well, I don’t mean this Jersey.”

Of course not. They never do.

They never mean the New Jersey of New Jersey Churchscape, either. Well, their loss. However, if your genealogy path leads to New Jersey, or if you just love knowledgeable discussions of church architecture,  you may well wish to pay this lovely site a visit.

Want to see a picture of your ancestors’ church? Try searching the index of photographs of historic churches from all over the state. Interested in learning about a specific church architect? Check to see if there’s an entry in the Architects & Builders index, alphabetized by last name.

There are regular articles on architectural topics. This month’s is “Twins,” all about buildings which share design influences. Or this article about two congregations whose church styles expressed their language of dissent in radically different ways. New Jersey Churchscape also keeps track of endangered buildings which face decay, redevelopment or worst of all, demolition.

I tell you, I have ruined many a Lee Press-On Nail clicking through this site.

Just kidding about the Press-On Nail part. The rest is on the level. The New Jersey Churchscape is a great place to visit.


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