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Mercerbook
    Asserting Legitimacy, Maintaining Identity

        the religious architecture of Mercer County, New Jersey
        in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

       by Frank L. Greenagel

       282 pages, 190+ b&w photographs, tables, glossary, appendices, bibliography, index
       8.24 x 11 in., paperback, list price: $30.00
       ISBN-13:   978-0-9818851-4-8   Publication date: April 2010

  There are really two churchscapes of Mercer County--one is defined by the city of Trenton and the near    suburbs, and the other encompasses almost everything else—the small towns and hamlets to the north    and east of the city. The first is stone and brick products of the 35 years following the Civil War. They are    Gothic, Romanesque and late Victorian, and many were designed by the leading architects of Philadelphia    and New York. Demoninations include Episcopal, Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, many of which now are occupied by Black congregations, Pentacostal congregations, and other late-twentieth century independent denominations and sects. Churches in the outlying towns are largely wooden-frame buildings erected around the middle of the nineteenth century and are most likely to be Presbyterian, Methodist or Baptist. The few that are not vernacular in style probably came from a plan book or were near copies of other regional churches. And most are occupied by their original congregations.

Each of the 72 surviving churches from the county’s early history is visited and photographed, with special attention paid to their founding, construction and architecture. From the sophisticated Gothic Revival designs erected in stone by leading architects to the simple wooden-frame meetinghouses built by hand by members of the congregation, the book offers an engaging account, illustrated by stunning photographs of the visual and material presence of Mercer's religious buildings. Eight are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and several others ought to be, and the author makes a strong case for their inclusion.

The book includes an outline of architectural styles, a summary of the religious denominations operating in the state during the early centuries, a glossary of architectural terms, an extensive bibliography, and index. Greenagel is an established local and regional historian and photographer. He focuses on the religious architecture and the associated cultural and economic history, and lectures frequently on those subjects.

Before March 31, pre-publication orders placed will receive a 20% discount. Here's the order form.

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