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


Sanctuary in 1908
Sanctuary c. 1908

Original Steeple
Sanctuary with original steeple, before 1896 storm

Placeholder image
Inside of sanctuary c. 1890, from balcony

For many, the 1867 Sanctuary at Ewing is a familiar and beloved community landmark, standing tall at “the bend in Scotch Road” in the heart of the Township.  For others, it is the place where many of life’s milestones have been marked.  For some, it has been an active, living house of worship surrounded by sacred ground marking those who have gone before.  For still others, it is a historic architectural and cultural gem that is the cornerstone of an equally historic three century old cemetery including the graves of 39 Revolutionary War veterans within the crossroads of the American Revolution.  But currently the sanctuary, which dates to just after the Civil War, is a dark and vacant shell, no longer used by the First Presbyterian Church of Ewing, awaiting restoration to a new future by Preservation New Jersey and the surrounding community.

The current building is the fourth building built for worship by the First Presbyterian Church of Ewing continually occupying this site.  The tradition is that a log cabin was built on the site in 1712.  It was replaced with a second, wood-frame building in 1726, then with a brick building completed in 1797 and remodeled in 1839.  The present stone building was constructed in 1867 to accommodate a growing congregation in the still rural township.  Although some minor modifications have been made to the building in the past 140+ years, it is largely unchanged.

Built of large, uncoursed local brownstone, this handsome and generally well preserved building is one of New Jersey’s few Romanesque Revival church sanctuaries.  Although the building has a gothic appearance at first glance with its tall and narrow stained-glass windows, tower and pinnacled buttresses, the round-arched window shapes and arcaded corbels represent the earlier medieval style – the Romanesque.  Romanesque Revival style designed by Philadelphia architect James C. Sidney was a popular alternative to the Gothic Revival style in the 1850s and 1860s.  The side elevations are 6 bays with flat buttresses between tall round-arched stained-glass windows. Ten stained glass windows in the nave were replaced in 1969 with stained and painted glass windows from the Willet Co. in Philadelphia, and depict the history of the Christian church from the calling of the disciples to the founding of the Ewing Presbyterian Church congregation in 1709.

August 15, 2015

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