Woodbridge Township Historic Preservation Commission
Woodbridge Township, New Jersey
Chartered 1669

First Presbyterian Church

600 Rahway Avenue
Built: 1803
National Registry ID: 08000363

The First Presbyterian Church, or “Old White Church” as it is affectionately known, is home to the oldest congregation in Middlesex County and the sixth oldest in the state. Its first service was conducted on May 27, 1675, in a small wooden structure, the official Meeting House, which served as both a place of worship and the seat of municipal government until the early 18th century. Non-denominational services were conducted until 1710, when a Presbyterian majority within the congregation declared their intentions to make the Meeting House their Church. Former members of the congregation, who wished to maintain their Anglican ties, went on to establish the neighboring Trinity Episcopal Church. The present structure was built in 1803 by Jonathan Freeman. The building was altered in 1875 and 1972. Notable features include the tall Church steeple, as well as the original wooden timbers of the foundation, which still exist in the structure. Many significant members of the congregation helped to shape Woodbridge history. Reverend Azel Roe, patriot and Church pastor for over 50 years, was an ardent supporter of the American Revolution, who preached against the British and encouraged others to enlist in the military an act which resulted in his seizure by the British and short imprisonment in the Old Sugar House Prison in New York. The Church held an important place in the establishment of other area Presbyterian churches, including those in Iselin, Rahway, and Metuchen, among many. It was recently placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 2008.

Additional references:
The First Walking Tour of Woodbridge. A walking tour of historic sites in Woodbridge
Map of Historic Area #1