Historical Society Aims to Preserve Moravian Church in Woolwich TownshipLast Edited:
The Gloucester County Historical Society works to preserve and tell the history of the county.
Anything that requires work is done through donations from the public and now they’re hoping the public will step up and help preserve a church dating back to the 1700s in Woolwich Township.
“This is the Moravian Church at Oldman’s Creek," said Jessica Ferguson, volunteer and trustee for the Gloucester County Historical Society. "The first stones were laid in 1786; it was finished in 1789. So, it’s post-Revolutionary, although the site itself is pre-Revolutionary — the congregation was here as early as 1747. The Moravian congregation was here until the early 1800s.”
The Gloucester County Historical Society purchased the church in Woolwich Township decades ago and now they’re working to preserve what is believed to be the oldest standing Moravian church in New Jersey.
“The [church] is actually in surprisingly good condition," said Ferguson. "I wouldn’t say it’s going to fall down. Behind me we have the wall that was an issue; we keep referring to it as the north wall. The windows are currently out and being preserved. That was an immediate need so we moved on that as quickly as we could.”
A new roof was also put on, but the total cost of the project is expected to be well over $100,000.
“The rest of the building is in need of repair: repointing on the bricks, restoration of the windows, all the sills and foundation, the door has all the original hardware," said Ferguson. "We need to preserve the doors, preserve the hardware, get all that up to speed. Hopefully, we can redo the interior to some extent.”
So, they created a GoFundMe that can be found at their website at GCHSNJ.org.
“That is basically to help us get funding to match these grants that we’ve been awarded," said Ferguson. "The 1772 Foundation and the New Jersey Historic Trust just gave us a grant to take care of the windows. They cover half the expense, we cover half the expense, and we get the entire project done."
Part of the money that they’re asking for will go towards an archeological dig of the site, as well as a preservation plan.
“Which is basically a brick-by-brick assessment of what needs to be done to the building in order to bring it back to its former glory,” said Ferguson.
They hope to raise enough money to help transform this Moravian church into a beautiful heritage tourism spot for the county to re-tell history for years to come.
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