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A Proper Style: tradition & change in the religious architecture of Monmouth County, New Jersey

by Frank L. Greenagel

364 pages, 250+ b&w photographs, tables, glossary, appendices, bibliography, index
8.24 x 11 in., paperback, list price: $30.00
ISBN-13:   978-0-9818851-1-7   Publication date: September 2009

A Proper Style is is a richly-illustrated guide to all 116 of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century churches and meetinghouses still standing in Monmouth County. Frank Greenagel, author of The New Jersey Churchscape and four other volumes on the old churches of New Jersey, and developer of the popular website,, explores and explains the history of Monmouth's religious buildings, from the earliest religious structure—a beautifully-restored wooden-frame meetinghouse in Upper Freehold Township, erected in 1739, to the stylish Baptist church in Atlantic Highlands and the Methodist church in Bradley Beach, built in 1900. The subtitle of the book, Tradition and Change in the Religious Architecture of Monmouth County, New Jersey, suggests that the book goes well beyond an inventory of the old churches of the county; in fact, it might serve nicely as a basic reference on architectural styles and construction traditions during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In order to preserve the unique story of the structures, some in danger of being lost to history, Greenagel spent more than ten years in fieldwork and research, logging countless hours on the road, in libraries and in the darkroom.

Each of the 116 surviving churches from the county’s early history is visited and photographed, with special attention paid to their founding, construction and architecture. From the sophisticated Gothic Revival designs erected in stone by leading architects to the simple wooden-frame meetinghouses built by hand by members of the congregation, the book offers an engaging account, illustrated by stunning photographs of the visual and material presence of Monmouth's religious buildings. Twenty are on the National Register of Historic Places, and several others ought to be, and the author makes a strong case for their inclusion.

The book includes an outline of architectural styles, a summary of the religious denominations operating in the state during the early centuries, a glossary of architectural terms, an extensive bibliography, and index. Greenagel is an established local and regional historian and photographer. He focuses on the religious architecture and the associated cultural and economic history, and lectures frequently on those subjects.

Download the Preface (a pdf file) to the book here.

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