21 October 2016

Hillsborough Reformed Church at Millstone

This past summer, the Hillsborough Reformed Church at Millstone celebrated the 250th anniversary of their congregation. On July 28th, 1766 seventy heads of the families of Dutch settlers in the Millstone Valley petitioned the ministers and elders of the Dutch Reformed churches at Raritan, New Brunswick, Six Mile Run,and Harlingen, to be allowed to form a separate church at Millstone.

Postcard circa 1905

The petition was deliberated and approved on August 11, 1766. The church first organized under the name "New Millstone" because the church at Harlingen went by the name "Millstone". By the end of 1767, the first church building was erected on the site where the present church stands today. It had three aisles, sixty-six pews, and a stairway in the southwest corner which led to the belfry.



South Elevation, from the Historic American Buildings Survey, 1939


In June of 1777, the British set fire to both the Dutch Reformed Church, and the small Presbyterian Church. Although the interior was completely destroyed, the structure of the building was saved, and, through careful repair over the years remained in service to the church community for sixty years.


From the Historic American Buildings Survey, 1939

In 1827, eighty members petitioned church elders to either repair and enlarge the old church, or build a new one. Joachim Quick was contracted to build a new church. He received the sum of $5,000 ($120,000 today) and all the materials he could salvage from the old church. Mr. Quick put the boards and timbers from the old church to good use, using them the next year to construct the covered bridge at South Branch, which was in use for 100 years.



East Elevation, from the Historic American Buildings Survey, 1939

The building was to take its design cues from the third church at Six Mile Run, which had been completed just two years prior. Both churches were a spacious, for the time, 70 by 55 feet. The cornerstone for the present church was laid on June 8, 1828, and the church was dedicated at Christmas of the same year. 


From the National Register of Historic Places nomination form, 1974

The nomination form which placed the village of Millstone on the National Register of Historic Places described the church building:

This is a two story building with a random course rubble foundation. The exterior of the building is clapboard. Brick is used for insulation. The walls are full timbered and pegged. The windows on the sides are 16/12 while those on the south end (main entrance) are 15/15 with semi-circular tops. There are no windows on the ground level on the south end. The three doors are arranged in a symmetrical pattern with the windows of the second floor and quarter windows of the attic. A circular window is at the attic level directly over the center door as is a circular lite in the steeple. The bell turret is octagon in shape. The roof is slate on wood shingle and gabled. The building has brick chimneys.

Longitudinal Section, from the Historic American Buildings Survey, 1939


As you can see from the photos, the church building, which will reach its bicentennial in a dozen years, looks the same today as it did more than a century ago, and likely much as it did in 1828, 



West view, 2015

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