Tag: historic churches

‘Church on the Green’                                        (The First Reformed Church of Hackensack), the Church Cemetery and the Hackensack Green                                                                   42 Court Street                                      Hackensack, NJ 07601

‘Church on the Green’ (The First Reformed Church of Hackensack), the Church Cemetery and the Hackensack Green 42 Court Street Hackensack, NJ 07601

“Church on the Green” (The First Reformed Church of Hackensack), the Cemetery and the Hackensack Green

43 Court Street

Hackensack, NJ  07601

Bergen County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs

(201) 336-7267

(201) 342-7050



Due to their national historic significance the church, cemetery and the adjacent Hackensack Green were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. The Green dates back to 1696 and is one of the oldest public squares in NJ. A strategic point during the American Revolution, Hackensack was a small village centered on The Green, a public meeting place where public notices were posted. In the 18th century it was where punishments were inflicted on criminals and where the local militia trained.

General Washington headquartered here in November 1776, while he surveyed the local roads and bridges. On November 20, 1776, he led his army into Hackensack. The army camped on The Green as Washington made the important decision to continue the retreat from overwhelming British and Hessian forces. On March 23, 1780, the British raided Hackensack and burned the courthouse that stood on the Green at that time. Since 1715, a Bergen County courthouse building faced The Green in Hackensack, the County Seat since 1710, making it the historic heart of Bergen County (County of Bergen Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs).

Dutch Reformed Church of Hackensack

The Cornerstone

The First Dutch Reformed Church congregation was organized in 1686, the oldest Reformed Dutch congregation in Bergen County and second oldest in NJ. (County of Bergen Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs).

During the first ten years, churchgoers worshiped in a private home outside the limits of modern-day Hackensack. The official name of the congregation was the “Dutch Reformed Church of Ackensack” and comprised thirty-three residents from Hackensack, New Barbadoes and Acquackanonk. All three of these townships made up most of northeastern New Jersey. Acquackanonk was located in the northern portion of modern Essex County. New Barbadoes was comprised of land west of the Hackensack River, while Ackensack was located to the east. In April of 1696, Captain John Berry (1619-1712), the proprietor of a large portion of land in northeastern New Jersey, donated two and three-quarter acres of his property to the congregation to support their efforts to build the church. Most of present-day Hackensack at that time was called “New Barbadoes Township” and Hackensack is thought to have gotten its unofficial name when the Church relocated to New Barbadoes and brought the name “Ackensack” with it.

The emergence of the Dutch Reformed Church in America developed from Dutch colonization of New York and New Jersey during the 17th century. Dutch settlement was prominent in these areas before the British took control of the area in the late 1600’s. Still, the Dutch were freely allowed to practice their religion in America, even under British sovereignty. The Hackensack First Reformed Church would become the second oldest Reformed Church in New Jersey and the first in Hackensack. Construction of the church was completed in the latter part of 1696.

John Berry’s donation of land was appropriately dubbed, “The Green” and the church soon became known as “The Church on the Green”. The first sermon was preached on November 15th, 1696, based on Psalm 26:8 “Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house and the place where thine honor dwelleth.” Although the first church was largely completed in 1696, the steeple was not built until 1708. The entire structure was rebuilt in 1728 on the same site. These two early church buildings were thought to have been octagonal structures.

Dutch Reformed Church of Hackensack III

The Back of the Dutch Reformed Church

In 1780, during the Revolutionary War, the British invaded Hackensack. They burned the courthouse and jail and threatened to destroy the Church on the Green, which was located adjacent to the aforementioned buildings. Fortunately, the church was spared. Dutch Colonial architecture with sandstone walls being the prominent feature of the building. Some aspects, especially the arched and pointed windows, appear to have Gothic elements.

The front of the church has three sets of double doors with similarly arched doorways and transom windows. This style was a precursor for many of the Reformed Dutch churches that were eventually build in New Jersey. Although the present-day building dates from 1791, the church was enlarged in 1847 and again in 1847 and again in 1869, thus containing newer elements.

The attached cemetery is original to the first building’s construction in the late seventeenth century but during the renovation in 1847, it was also enlarged. The neighboring service house was built in 1867 and was used as a Sunday school, lecture hall and chapel.

The churchyard cemetery features simple stone tablets and obelisks that are surrounded by a wrought iron fence. Some notable burials include General Enoch Poor (1736-1780), Colonel and New York Mayor Richard Varick (1753-1831), Congressman George Cassedy (1783-1842) and Congressman Adam Boyd (1746-1835). General Enoch Poor’s burial is especially noteworthy as he served alongside George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

Additionally, both Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette were in attendance at Poor’s funeral. Enoch Poor’s gravestone reads: “In Memory of the Hon’ble Brigadier General Enoch Poor of the State of New Hampshire who Departed this Life on the 8 day of Sept: 1780 aged 44 years/Washington, Lafayette and a portion of the American army attended the burial of Gen. Poor. In 1824, Lafayette visited this grave and turned away much affected, exclaimed, “Ah, that was one of my Generals!” Poor died in 1780, before the close of the Revolutionary War, so this gravestone is clearly not the original.

Dutch Reformed Church of Hackensack II

The cemetery at the Dutch Reformed Church

The Reformed Church was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places on April 25, 1983. Included in this nomination was the “Green”,  which is one of the oldest public squares in New Jersey. This area encompasses the Churchyard, the cemetery, the church outbuilding and the green area that is adjacent to the Bergen County Courthouse. There are a few monuments that occupy this space, including a statue memorial to General Enoch Poor, which was dedicated in 1904 and the Hackensack War Memorial, which dates to 1924. The church continues to be a prominent feature of the history of Hackensack through community and self-guided walking tours. In addition to this, there are yearly Memorial Day commemorations, where a wreath is placed over General Enoch Poor’s grave and a tour of the church is provided to the attendees of the celebration.

Surrounding the Green, there are a few other historical buildings:

*The Peter Zabriskie Mansion site at 50 Main Street.

*Archibald Campbell’s Tavern Site at 41 Main Street

*The Hackensack War Memorial

*Site of the Burned Jail

*The Annual Christmas Tree on the Green

Christmas Tree at Hackensack Green

Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the Bergen County Historical Society pamphlet and the Clio Website on the First Dutch Reformed Church of Hackensack and from visiting downtown Hackensack. Please call the church at (201) 342-7050 for details on visiting it. Please remember this is a resting place.

Historic Old Dutch Church                                                      272 Wall Street                                                               Kingston, New York 12401

Historic Old Dutch Church 272 Wall Street Kingston, New York 12401

The Historic Old Dutch Church

272 Wall Street

Kingston, New York  12401

(845) 338-6759

*Note from the Blogger: this church is where every year the ‘Sinterklass Committee’ has there annual fundraiser. The inside is beautifully decorated for the holidays and the food is wonderful. Check out the Sinterklaas Rhinebeck, NY website for more special events.

TripAdvisor Review:


I recently attended the Annual “Cemetery Walk” of the Old Dutch Church in Kingston, NY, where they have actors playing famous people who are buried at the church.

We went through the cemetery and one by one we met actors who played the roles of Sadie and Elsie Reher, whose family owned the bakery in the Kingston Roundout, Jenny, slave who was living in Upstate New York at the time of slavery in New York, Calvert Vaux, the famous landscape artist of Central and Prospect Park fame, who also designed many homes and buildings, Emily Chadbourne, the art collector, philanthropist and socialite. To round off the cast their was Rachel Hasbrouck, the landowners and Father Devine, a spiritual leader of the 1930’s.

The Cemetery Walk at the Old Dutch Church

The Cemetery Walk at the Old Dutch Church in Kingston, NY

We spent about fifteen minutes with each character and than would hear the cow bell and move onto the next character. It is a lot of walking around a cemetery in the dark and a few people could not handle it.

The only problem with the event was that the actors took it upon themselves to relate their characters to modern times and what is going on in the world today and I did not take a tour to hear their political views. That put a damper on the evening. They are supposed to stay in the era their character was born into. The tour covered three centuries of residents of Kingston, NY.

Take some time to come to the church during daylight hours and see the cemetery on your own time. It is very interesting and gives you a perspective on the role of the church from colonial to modern times.

I also had been up to the church many times for Sinterklass fundraisers, where we were treated to Dutch “Sweets & Treats” along with a visit from Sinterklass (Santa Claus). It was always a nice night of music and entertainment.

Sinterklass at the Old Dutch Church

The Sinterklaas fundraiser “Sweets & Treats” used to be held at the Old Dutch Church in Kingston, NY.

During the recent “Snowflake Festival” in 2022, the church was the host to many groups of fiddlers. The whole church was decked out for the Christmas holidays. Both inside and outside the church was decorated for the Christmas holiday season. It was just gorgeous.

The front of the church during the Kingston Snowflake Festival in 2022

The Dutch Reformed Church’s Christmas tree was very traditional

The fiddlers packed the church for the concert. It was nice to see the church during the Christmas holiday season which was decked out with traditional holiday decorations. The concerts were a lot of fun and the groups were excellent.

The fiddler groups entertained us that night

The History of the Old Dutch Church of Kingston, NY:

Founded in 1659, the Old Dutch Church is often referred to as “Kingston’s Cathedral”. The present structure was designed by Minard LeFever and built in 1852. Architect Calvert Vaux said of this design, “I cannot change a thing without impairing the exquisite unity. It’s ideally perfect.”

Old Dutch Church Kingston NY VI

Downtown Kingston and the church in the middle

Organized in 1659:

*Sixth Oldest Reformed Church in North America.

*Archives containing Baptism and Marriage Records dating back from 1660 to present.

*The Land on which the church stands was a gift from Peter Stuyvesant.

*Fifty Reformed Churches in the Hudson Valley, New Jersey and Pennsylvania trace their roots to Old Dutch Church, Kingston.

Old Dutch Church

The Old Dutch Church in Downtown Kingston, NY

*The ancient churchyard is the resting place of 1400 early settlers, including 77 Revolutionary War veterans and first New York Governor and two time Vice-President, George Clinton.

Old Dutch Church Kingston NY III

The churchyard

*Inside in the church: the magnificent Tiffany Window above the pulpit; bronze angels and the spectacular Moeller Organ.

*Visitation site of both Queen Juliana and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

Tours and information talks given by Old Dutch Church guides are available by appointment.

Sunday Morning Worship: 10:30am

Old Dutch Church Kingston NY II

The inside of the church

The church during the recent ‘Kingston Snowflake Festival”

Church office Hours 10:00am-3:00pm weekdays (845) 338-6759



*Disclaimer: this information was taken from the Old Dutch Church pamphlet. The church is the site of the annual fundraiser for the Sinterklass festival every November. Please check out the Sinterklass festival calendar every year for updates. The church cemetery is worth the visit alone with all the unique and historical people buried here.