Second Presbyterian Church

27 Washington Street
Newark, New Jersey 07102

October, 1811 - 1995



Newspaper Articles

May 17, 1885 - The Old Blue Church
May 22, 1910 - Extensive Addition on James Street to the Second Presbyterian Church
December 2, 1930 - 130 Firemen Fight Early Morning Blaze at Second Presbyterian

The Second Presbyterian church was formed by the northern part of the First Presbyterian congregation. The cornerstone of the church was laid in June of 1810 by 93 members. The lot was at 17 Washington Street facing Washington Park. The stucco finish gave the new church the nickname "Old Blue Church". The auditorium has 26 stained glass windows of various sizes depicting outstanding local citizens, spiritual leaders, and incidents in the life of Christ.

Only 9 months after the church dedication, the wife of the first reverend fell from Passaic Falls in Patterson and drowned, they had been married only two months. In 1886 the old church was replaced with a new edifice. A Sunday School and parish house were erected in 1911. The church was destroyed by fire in 1930 and rebuilt. Newark's first foundry, erected in 1768, first occupied the site.

The congregation dissolved in 1995. The building still stands.

From Hank Przybylowicz:

At 04:06 hours, a spectacular four-alarm fire totally destroyed the 75-by-200-foot Second Presbyterian Church, at Washington and James Streets, leaving only the 158-foot bell tower and heavy brownstone exterior walls standing.

The fire quickly went to four alarms as extreme radiant heat broke windows in nearby buildings and showered the area with burning wood. Shifting winds sent showers of flaming embers towards Broad Street.

Firemen worked for several hours using master streams, hand lines, and the water tower to keep the fire from spreading to neighboring properties. The water tower was credited with saving the bell tower. The church, which was built in 1886, boasted a membership of 1,700 people.

While no exact cause of the blaze was discovered, Chef Engineer Towey believed the fire was caused either by overheated steam pipes or defective wiring. Losses were placed at $250,000 ($3.3 million in 2010), including a $25,000 ($326,000) pipe organ, the church’s rose glass windows, and a wall canvas, “Christ In Newark,” by August Blank, a Newark artist (Box 451).

From the Newark Daily Advertiser, Thursday Evening, September 20, 1850:

"A New Bell has just been placed in the steeple of the Second Presbyterian Church, the old one, to which the ears of the passing generation have been so long accustomed, having been cracked on the day of the funeral solemnities to the memory of Gen. Taylor. The bell is from the famous foundry of Meneely, of West Troy, weighs about 1400 lbs., is on B, and is very sweet toned."

From Chris Cook:

In the year 1801 Rev. Edward Dorr Griffin became Colleague Pastor with Dr M Whorter of the First Presbyterian Church Newark N.J. After an eminently successful ministry of nearly eight years at Newark he accepted the appointment of Professor of Sacred Rhetoric in the Theological Seminary at Andover Mass and was inaugurated in June 1809. He was in Newark in 1815 as pastor of the Second church. In 1821 he became president of Williams College in Massachusetts holding that office fifteen years. He again returned to Newark and died here November 8, 1837 He lies buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

Reverends Addresses LDS FHC
Microfilm #'s


Reverend From To
Hooper Cumming October 3, 1811 January 3, 1815
Edward Dorr Griffin June 20, 1815 October, 1821
Philip C. Hay December 17, 1822 July 11, 1833
Ebenezer Cheever April 23, 1834 April 26, 1845
Jonathan B. Condit December 15, 1845 April 5, 1851
George L. Prentiss December 6, 1850 April 15, 1851
Joseph Few Smith December 23, 1851 June 22, 1888 (Death)
Pleasant Hunter October 3, 1889 October 1, 1894
Paul F. Sutphen January 20, 1893 September 24, 1894
Thomas R. Bridges November 7, 1895 October 4, 1905
Pleasant Hunter February 14, 1907 1926
Lester H. Clee 1927 after 1957

Address From To
17, 25, 27 Washington Street c. James Street 1810 1995

LDS FHC Microfilm #'s

Information Starting Year Ending Year LDS Microfilm #
Church Manual for the Members

Archive Information (Last Known location)