New Jersey Historic Preservation Bond Program
Grant Award: $112,977 (1997)
Grant Recipient: Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
County: CumberlandMunicipality: Greenwich Township
The Bethel A.M.E. Church at Springtown was built in 1841 and enlarged in 1885. Constructed for one of the earliest African Methodist Episcopal congregations in the U.S., it represents a rare survival of rural vernacular early nineteenth-century African-American church design. The church retains many of its original interior details, including a stenciled cornice and braced king trusses. The church has long served the communities of Greenwich and Springtown, which played an active role in aiding escaped slaves through the Underground Railroad.
The grant funded restoration of the church roof, belfry and stucco walls. After its restoration, the church opened as part of the Cumberland County's school history program, with interpretation guided by the Greenwich Historical Society.
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