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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Scotch Plains Baptist Church, Parsonage, and Cemetery
Reference Number 13000386
State New Jersy
County Union
Town Scotch Plains Township
Street Address 333-347 Park Avenue
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 6/14/2013
Areas of Significance Settlement, Religion, Architecture, Art
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The Scotch Plains Baptist Church, Parsonage, and Cemetery are significant under Criterion A at the local level in the area of community development for their associations with the development of Scotch Plains. The Baptist congregation in Scotch Plains was organized in 1742, and its first meetinghouse was erected a year later. The church and neighboring Sutton's Tavern (circa 1737) became the nucleus around which the village of Scotch Plains was formed. The cemetery is among Union County's oldest burial grounds and contains the remains of many of the area's first settlers. It also has perhaps the oldest documented gravestone of an African-American (1806) in New Jersey (Veit and Nonestied 2008:172). Formally established in August 1747, the church was the first Baptist congregation in Essex County. The complex has additional significance under Criterion C in the areas of architecture and art. The parsonage was previously listed on the National Register as a rare surviving eighteenth century stone residence in Scotch Plains. The existing church is the third edifice to serve the congregation; erected in 1871, the building was designed by architect Thomas A. Roberts and is an outstanding example of the Victorian Gothic style. The cemetery dates to the founding of the church and contains a distinctive collection of eighteenthcentury grave stones possessing high artistic value. These hand carved gravestones exhibit regional motifs like winged angels, willows, and urns, as well as motifs popularized by local artisans, including shells, borders comprised of flower and scroll patterns, and monogrammed tympanums. Local carvers represented in the cemetery include the prolific Jonathan Hand Osborn, Henry Osborn, Lebeus Manning, and J.C. Mooney. The Scotch Plains Baptist Church, Parsonage, and Cemetery meet Criteria Consideration A because the property's primary significance is derived from its historical associations with the development of Scotch Plains and the architectural significance of the church and parsonage. The cemetery additionally meets Criteria Consideration D because its primary significance is related to its age and the artistic value of its eighteenth-century gravestones. The period of significance for the Scotch Plains Baptist Church, Parsonage, and Cemetery begins with the erection of the first meetinghouse and probable first interments in the cemetery in 17 43 and ends in 194 7 with the completion of the stained glass window installation in the church.


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria