Old Broad Street Presbyterian Church was constructed in the meeting house form, rectangular in plan, with the pulpit placed on the north gable end wall and a U-shaped balcony on the other sides. The north elevation, facing Broad Street, is the primary fa?ade, although it has no door opening. Rather this three-bay gable-end elevation is distinguished by Flemish bond brickwork and a large Palladian window. The interior features colonial pew boxes facing a central raised pulpit, Federal period paneling on the pulpit and pews, Federal detailing on the wood balcony railing and decorative plaster ceiling, and Georgian period balustrades on the stairs.
The building's only known alteration consists of the installation of the chimney and heating stoves in 1809. No electrical, plumbing, or mechanical systems have ever been installed. Among the many notables buried in the cemetery, which has been in use since 1792, are one of the first U.S Senators from New Jersey, and an early governor of the State.
In 2009, the roof structure was restored and the wood shingle roof was replaced, funded in part by the Garden State Preservation Trust, administrated by the New Jersey Historic Trust/State of New Jersey. Listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places, 1973. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 1974.
Key Events in the Church History
1791 Land donated by the son of a Quaker
1792 October: Congregation applies for recognition from the Presbytery as a separate congregation. December: Construction of the walls and roof completed.
1794 Funding raised by conducting a state-approved lottery. Spring: Construction resumes with Ezekiel Foster, carpenter. 1795 Dedication service held May 17th.
1797 Murder trial of John Patterson held here. 1798 Board fence erected around the graveyard.
1799 Painting completed.
1803 "Venetian blinds" installed.
1809 Chimney and heating stoves installed.1836 Congregation moves to new, larger church.
We the inhabitants of Bridge Town & its neighborhood, having hitherto been destitute of a House of publick Worship, & many of us, by reason of our distance from places of Worship, have belonged to no religious Society, & others have only casually joined the different Congregations around us until a Church could be erected in this place, & and being considerably increased in numbers of late, we have judged it expedient, & have agreed by voluntary subscriptions to build a House in Bridge Town for the purpose of publickly meeting theirin to Worship Almighty God according to the Doctrine & forms of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.—Church Founders, 30 April 1792.
Old Broad Street Church falls into a group of brick churches in the Delaware Valley that take their architectural inspiration from religious buildings in Philadelphia. Later than most stylistically comparable buildings, his church embodies the full flowering of high-style Georgian architecture in that city. At the same time, its design was particularly influenced by Presbyterianism as it was practiced in the eighteenth century.
To a large extent, Old Broad Street Church owes it remarkable preservation to its near abandonment in 1836. Because the Presbyterian congregation moved to a new building on the more populous east side of Bridgeton, no "improvements" were made to the burying ground and a growing appreciation of the historic building throughout the twentieth century.