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

Trinity Episcopal Church

650 Rahway Avenue
Built: c.1859

The history of Trinity Episcopal Church has its roots in the late seventeenth century. Its first service was conducted in 1698 by Reverend Edward Portlock, a colonial Anglican missionary sent to New Jersey by the Church of England. Prior to the construction of the first church, services were conducted in private Woodbridge homes, including the home of Benjamin Dunham, which later would become the Trinity Rectory. Members of the congregation also attended the First Church of Woodbridge, later established as the First Presbyterian Church. After a congregational schism at First Church, former members built an Episcopal Church on this site in 1711. The property upon which it was built was part of the original proprietors’ allotment for places of worship in the Woodbridge Charter of 1669, granted by King Charles II. This small wooden structure was the site of worship for many years to come, however, it remained unfinished and a larger one was built in its place in 1754. During the American Revolution, “Churches of England” in New Jersey were ordered closed, as many members and clergy were loyal British subjects. Despite its connection to the Church of England, it is known that many other members of the congregation fought for and supported the Revolution, including famous New Jersey printer James Parker, who served as a lay reader. The British occupied Woodbridge from December 2, 1776 to June 22, 1777. It is believed that the army was quartered on the Church’s property, with the Church serving as soldiers’ barracks and the rectory, a fort. In 1858, a fire destroyed the Church and another was built in 1860. The present Gothic Revival style Church building was dedicated on May 20, 1861. Designed by Richard Upjohn, and later completed by C. Harrison Condit, it is one of the best preserved, finest examples of Upjohn’s work still standing. Trinity was placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 2004. It is one of the oldest Episcopal congregations in New Jersey.

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