1867 Sanctuary at Ewing
Preservation New Jersey • 1867 Sanctuary at Ewing • PO Box 7815• West Trenton, NJ 08628

1867 Sanctuary 2013 Adaptive Reuse Study

March 2013 Meeting Poster
Click to download, print, and share our meeting poster!

Planning the Future of a Ewing Landmark

Preservation New Jersey hosted a second roundtable public discussion of potential renovation plans to accommodate future possible uses of the 1867 Sanctuary at Ewing on Wednesday, March 20 at 7 pm at the Ewing Community and Senior Center at 999 Lower Ferry Road in Ewing. Please email your comments on the current renovation concepts by April 8, 2013. Results of the study are expected in June 2013, and will be summarized on this web page.

Preservation New Jersey, and its 1867 Sanctuary at Ewing Committee, have engaged the architectural firm of Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC, to undertake an “adaptive reuse” study of the sanctuary at 101 Scotch Road, formerly used by the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church.

Michael MillsThe meeting opened with a presentation by the architectural consultants of their ideas and recommendations in response to those shared by the public in a January 8, 2013 community workshop. Interested arts, business and community leaders and other potential users were invited to respond, to determine whether proposed interior renovations (lighting, seating, facilities, etc.) will be suitable for their use when the 1867 Sanctuary reopens as a community venue. Your fully tax-deductible donations will make these renovations possible!

Private tours of the building are available by appointment. To schedule a tour, please email 1867sanctuary@preservationnj.org.

Click here to view introductory remarks by Helen Kull of Preservation New Jersey to the March 20, 2013 public workshop.

Click here to view slides accompanying introductory remarks by Helen Kull of Preservation New Jersey to the March 20, 2013 public workshop.

Click here to view the presentation slides by Mills + Schnoering Architects.

Click here to view meeting notes prepared by Mills + Schnoering Architects.

1867 Sanctuary Interior Front 1867 Sanctuary Interior Back

Introductory remarks to January 8, 2013 public workshop meeting by Helen A. Kull, Member, Preservation New Jersey Board of Directors and 1867 Sanctuary Committee

Helen Kull
Helen Kull
Mills and Gaffigan
Architects Michael Mills and Christa Gaffigan
David Knights
PNJ President David Knights

"For those of you who may not know the history, I will very briefly tell you that at the time of discovery of significant structural problems with the roof trusses and stone walls supporting them, and through the painful decision to demolish the building, many of us could still envision of the potential of this structure. Constructed in 1867 just after the Civil War in an era of optimism, this formidable presence on the landscape in a very rural farming area not only served as a place of worship for the then 160-year old congregation. It was also a center for the community, hosting events, meetings, gatherings, socialites’ weddings and simple funerals. For years, it was the only building in the area that could host a crowd, and it served as a social center for decades, through to the Second World War. Its significance to the community then was great.

"As we began raising money in 2009 to restore the building, we found that the building still held significance for many, many people beyond those that belong to the congregation, although perhaps not in the same ways. Certainly its physical presence still commands the bend at the Scotch Road, as well as the park-like cemetery which surrounds it. For many it holds memories of baptisms, weddings and/or funerals of friends or loved ones. For others, its tall steeple reminds them of a Higher Power in their lives. Some have been attracted by its excellent acoustic, and the sound of the majestic organ playing or instruments and voices raised in song. Still others appreciate the architecture, and the simple and solid beauty of its form.

"Unfortunately, there are hundreds if not thousands of churches and other houses of worship around this country which find themselves in the same sad situation: the caretaking congregation, often reduced in size from what it once was, can no longer afford the maintenance, upkeep and expenses associated with such grand and glorious buildings. Many are abandoned and eventually demolished; other congregations adapt by sharing their space with others 7 days/week instead of using the space only one day a week. But others are given new life, with creative ways to adapt old buildings to new uses. And that’s why we are here tonight.

"In May of 2012, in an unprecedented move, Preservation New Jersey (PNJ) took hands-on responsibility for the former Ewing Presbyterian sanctuary, signing a 50-year lease to “preserve and renew” what has been renamed as “The 1867 Sanctuary at Ewing.” While the lease restricts PNJ from leasing the space to a competing congregation on Sunday mornings, it does allow PNJ to use it at other times for a variety of approved uses: weddings, funerals, concerts big and small, theatre performances, coffee houses, exhibit space, meetings, gatherings, movies, discussions, debates, etc. There are likely many more “approved uses” which we just haven’t thought of yet. It probably can’t become a bar, or a casino…but there are lots of OTHER possibilities.

"But now - before we begin to make the improvements which are currently necessary to earn a Certificate of Occupancy – NOW is the time to think about how to adapt the 1867 Sanctuary to accommodate its potential future uses. How can this building serve the greater Ewing community again? How can this 19th century landmark be significant to us in the 21st century? Can it still accommodate worship, public and entertainment uses? Can ecumenical, spiritual and secular uses all coexist? This – and much more – is what we will think about tonight.

"I am overjoyed and so thankful that PNJ had the courage to assist us in this effort. I am especially pleased and thankful that the Princeton Area Community Foundation , and the New Jersey Historic Trust, have encouraged our pursuit of this effort by granting us funds with which to do the work. And I am thrilled that fellow Presbyterian Michael Mills, and his colleagues at Mills+Schnoering Architects LLC are working with us on this project, and are here tonight to guide us through this first step.

"I invite you to help us with the vision of what could be!"

Click here to view the invitation to the January 8, 2013 public workshop.

Click here to view the presentation slides by Mills + Schnoering Architects.

Click here to view meeting notes prepared by Mills + Schnoering Architects.

Click here to view the January 24, 2013 Trenton Times editorial in support of this effort.

Click here to send email to 1867Sanctuary@PreservationNJ.org your comments and ideas, or to request an individual tour of the building (currently closed to the general public). All comments and ideas will be acknowledged and forwarded to the architects for their consideration, and you will receive a notification by email of a follow-up public meeting in which the architects will present ways in which these future uses may be accommodated, and estimates of potential costs for renovations to accommodate these uses. Your fully tax-deductible donations will make these renovations possible!

Followers on Facebook and Twitter will also be notified of upcoming meetings and events.

Thank you!!!

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August 15, 2015

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