Text from: Teaneck New Jersey Forty Years of Progress: 1895-1935, by Township of Teaneck, c1935. pp. 14-18.
Photos from: Local History Photo Collection of Teaneck Public Library
TEANECK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Starting in the property known as the Old Town Hall, the public school building of Teaneck, the Sunday School which was then known as the Washington Avenue Union Sunday School, secured its present site on Teaneck Road at Church Street, from the Phelps Estate. In 1894, Frank DeRonde, then acting as trustee and treasurer, undertook to raise money by a public concert to erect the first portion of the structure. The transcept and the west wing were built in 1911.
In 1922 the entire building was excavated, redecorated, including the installation of the heating plant, community room, toilets, and kitchen. A year later the manse property and the adjoining lot on Teaneck Road were purchased and the manse was built. In 1930 through the efforts of the Woman's Guild, an Estey Pipe Organ was installed as a memorial to George S. Coe in view of the services he rendered the church during the days of his life which ended there, February 11, 1927.
The church was incorporated November 12, 1915. The morning services started Easter, 1923, and the same year the Sunday School was changed from the afternoon to the morning session.
The following pastors have served the church: George L. Roberts, Jr., Charles T. Baillie, Thornton B. Penfield, and the present pastor, the Rev. Reginald Rowland who assumed pastorate December 12, 1922, coming from Washington, D. C., to be the resident minister. The following served as Stated Supplies: A. C. Baird, Leonard Twinem, George Woodbury, Sidney M. Bedford, and Thornton B. Penfield.
Under the present pastorate, in addition to improvements and appropriate care for the physical property of the church, the membership has grown from 135 to 319 communicants, and the Board of Elders has been increased from six to nine in number to keep pace with its responsibilities for the enlarged enrollment.
TEANECK METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
The story of this church is one of continuous growth and the Sunday School, with its active attendance of 200 per Sunday, crowds even these new quarters. The movement which was to eventuate in the present Methodist Church started back in the Fall of 1901. It started as the Lower Teaneck Sunday School Association. Those who started it met in the old schoolhouse on Fort Lee Road. By April, 1902, under the leadership of Mr. C. P. Bogert as superintendent, a lot was purchased on Teaneck Road just north of the trolley line. By 1905, the group had grown strong enough to assume a mortgage of $1400 and they built the chapel which still stands. Growth continued and this mortgage was eliminated in seven years time. The first trustees of the association were C. P. Bogert, B. D. Westervelt, and Elmer Mabie.
Preaching services started in 1911 with volunteer preachers and in 1912 the Rev. V. A. Wood, then pastor at Ridgefield Park, was induced to preach here as well as his own charge. In 1915 the chapel became a denominational church. After representatives from several churches were heard, a vote was taken and the chapel became a part of the Methodist Episcopal Church. There were eighteen charter members when the church was organized.
Growth continued and it soon became evident that larger quarters would soon become necessary. In 1920 a movement was started to provide more adequate accommodations. In 1923, during the pastorate of the Rev. M. A. Workman, the new building was constructed on DeGraw Avenue and Hickory Street. The lots were donated by Mrs. Rachel DeGraw, the old property sold, and the financing arranged.
In 1928 the parsonage was built and the Rev. Ralph Roby and family were the first to live in it. Mr. Roby was followed by the Rev. Charles Kemble and he by the present pastor, Rev. Alfred E. Willett.
ST. ANASTASIA'S R. C. CHURCH
Up to the year 1908, the Catholic people of Teaneck were served by the Carmelite Fathers from St. Cecilia's Monastery, Englewood, N. J. Saint Anastasia Church, the first Catholic Church in Teaneck, was built in the year 1908. Father Peter Kramer, O. Carm was the first pastor.
A bronze plaque with the following inscription may be seen in the present church "Erected to the Memory of Anastasia Kelly, Founder and Munificent Patroness of this Church."
Born May 11, 1828 in the County Wexford, Ireland, she came in early youth to Brooklyn, N. Y. and resided in that city during the greater part of her life. Removing thence to Teaneck, the zeal for God's glory and the sanctification of souls which charaterized her whole life, urged her to devote a goodly share of her worldly fortune to the erection of a church, convenient to the residents of this town. This pious plan was happily realized and the church was dedicated August 2, 1908.
Owing to blindness, with which she was afflicted during the later years of her life, she never had the pleasure of viewing the monument she had built.
In 1923 Father Benedict O'Neill, O. Carm., the next pastor, enlarged this church purchased the Robinson estate and remodeled the house to serve as a rectory. He became the first resident pastor of this fast growing parish in May of the following year. Again the enlarged church was found too small to serve adequately the growing parish. Father O'Neill erected a new building on Robinson Street, the beginning of a school plant consisting of an auditorium and a spacious basement hall; the auditorium to serve as a church until such time when a church could be erected which would serve the future full-grown community. The new building was opened with Solemn High Mass or Thanksgiving Day, November, 1932.
In July, 1933, Father Silverius Quigley, O. Carm. became the second resident pastor of St. Anastasia Church. A month later Father Dominic Lickteig, O. Carm. came as the first resident assistant Pastor.
With the expected increase in the Catholic population of Teaneck, plans have been made for the erection of a new church on the corner of Teaneck Road and Robinson Street.
Christ Church Mission was organized in 1913 under the authority of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark. That section of Teaneck, known as West Englewood Park, at that time consisted of about twenty homes completed on one finished street, Ogden Avenue.
Mrs. Fairchild N. Ferry of Ogden Avenue was the pioneer of the parish. She took a group of the children from that neighborhood and taught Bible Studies to them in her own home. Gradually adults began to realize that a church was needed there and a pastor was engaged to preach Sunday services at the Ferry home.
Rev. Flemming James of St. Paul's Church, Englewood, was the first pastor. During those first two years of the congregation, the church equipment consisted of a wheelbarrow load of prayer books and hymnals, a home-made but well built Prie-dieu (reading desk), and the free services of Rev. F. James.
In 1915 the present church edifice was finished and dedicated by Bishops Lines and Stearley of Newark. Rev. Carl Stridsberg was named rector. Portable seats were installed until 1918 when the present equipment was put in place.
Rev. Carl Stridsberg enlisted in the army and on his return from France served the congregation for one year. He was succeeded by the Rev. P. Hall until 1925 when the present pastor, Rev. William K. Russell was installed. Then came the era of great progress. The Mission was changed to a regular parish, the large community hall was built, and a fine rectory, the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Ayres, was erected.
The church and rectory are located at Rutland Avenue and Rugby Road.
CHURCH OF THE EPIPHANY
A Sunday School was organized in the Fall of 1917 at the home of F. W. Shulenberger of Glenwood Avenue. Sunday night, January 9, 1921, a church service was held there with the Rev. George Collard of Christ Church, Hackensack, officiating. He was assisted by P. W. Conyers, lay reader.
The Thursday Guild was organized February 10, 1921. March 30, 1921, Rev. A. Elmendorf of Christ Church, Hackensack, with Canon Dunceith and Mr. Conyers, met with the following persons: Miss Osgood, Mesdames Felton, Hall, Shulenberger, Turnbull, and Wiener; Messrs. Holmes, Martindale, and Shulenberger. Officers were elected and a committee appointed to raise funds for a building. Church service was held weekly at the home of Mr. and Mrs. F. W. Shulenberger. P. W. Conyers was in charge of the services with the Rev. George Collard officiating at Holy Communion.
The cornerstone of the church building was laid Sunday, June 15, 1924 when Dr. A. Elmendorf presided and Dr. Lyons of St. Paul's Church, Englewood, was the speaker. The architect for the building was M. T. Turnbull and the builder, John Rowe.
Besides Dr. Elmendorf and Rev. Collard, the following rectors have served the church: Rev. William White, Rev. Richard Baxter, and the present officers are Rev. William K. Russell, rector; F. W. Shulenberger, warden; P. W. Conyers, treasurer; and Mrs. F. W. Shulenberger, organist.
SMITH COMMUNITY CHURCH
After a period of years during which members of the various churches who lived in the neighborhood of Emerson School had been holding Sunday Chapel services and Sunday School sessions in various homes and in the Kenwood Place firehouse, it was decided to erect a building. Rev. F. K. Shields, then associate pastor of the Bogart Memorial Church, had been conducting the services.
Early in 1922 when the building was completed, the church was finally incorporated as the Smith Community Church under the Reformed Church in America and Rev. Shields continued to conduct services of the church. In 1924 the congregation accepted with regret the resignation of Rev. Shields and called the Rev. L. H. French, who served as its pastor until 1929. In the spring of 1930 John J. Soeter was called to become pastor of the church and served until 1935, when upon his resignation, the church called its present pastor, Rev. Martin A. deWolfe.
The church had its beginning as a community project and has sought to maintain during all its years the ideal of being "A Neighborly Community Church." The steady growth of the church and the widening of its influence in the community through its various activities, are evidenced by the growing interest of the community in the church.
The many organizations of the church have been active in many community projects as well as in projects of the church at large.
Through cooperation with other organizations which work for the welfare of the community, the Church's Community House and the interest of its members have contributed much to the social, moral and educational welfare of Teaneck.
ST. MARK'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
In April 1924, a Mrs. Floyd F. Chadwick of Cedar Lane realized that a church or at least a Sunday School, should be organized for the residents of that section. She took it upon herself to teach five children of the neighborhood in her own home each Sunday. Then the adults became interested and met at her home for church services. Four families comprised the original membership.
September, 1924 saw a drive started by Mrs. Chadwick, Mrs. Richard Copley, Mrs. J. M. Boteler, and Mrs. Charles Reihler to raise funds to build a chapel. These women canvassed the town and realized $700. Services were still being conducted in the Chadwick home when the chapel was completed and the first service held there on Christmas morning, 1924, with the Rev. William J. White as celebrant and Stanley Chadwick as server.
By the time the chapel was completed the Sunday School enrollment had increased to forty-five children. A Guild was formed by Mrs. Floyd F. Chadwick, president, Mrs. William Berghorn, Mrs. Foster McClelland, Mrs. William J. Wahl, and Mrs. Charles Peihler. One of the outstanding affairs held in 1925 by the Guild was the outdoor musical held on the lawn of the home of Mrs. Chadwick.
The Rev. William J. White was pastor until Oct. 1925 when he was succeeded by the Rev. Richard W. Baxter who remained until December, 1934. The Rev. George Collard was then appointed pastor but resigned in May, 1935, to take a position elsewhere. At the present time the church is without a minister but it is expected that one will be procured within a few months.
BAHA'I CENTER OF TEANECK
The unique and picturesque log cabin where Baha'i meetings are held weekly was the outgrowth of a man's hobby. Roy Wilhelm built this structure on his large estate at Alicia Avenue and Evergreen Place during the war. After having taken seven years to complete it, it soon proved inadequate and four more years were devoted to construct it as it now stands.
About half of the logs are Norway Spruce which were dying over this entire area and Wilhelm was granted permission for their use from the Phelps Estate. In addition to these, two carloads of white cedar logs were brought from Canada.
Since the study of rocks and odd varieties of stone is the hobby of Wilhelm, the interior of the cabin is decorated in a novel manner. The fireplace, in particular, is built of odd stones gathered from all over the world, carrying out the idea that in this building representatives of religions from all over the world meet in friendly understanding.
In front of the cabin there is a huge rock garden with pools of water, fountains and colored lights under the surface of the water. These pools are fed from a well drilled to a depth of seventy-four feet, all the first eight of which are through ground stone rock. The largest stone, nine feet high, was found and transported from within a mile of its present location. It weighs thirty tons. A difficult task was encountered drilling through these large rocks for the water pipe and wire for their illumination.
The late Louis Bourgeois, famous architect and formerly of Bogert Street and Alicia Avenue, Teaneck, also was a well-known figure in the construction of a Baha'i meeting place. He designed the newly constructed Baha'i Temple at Wilmette, a suburb of Chicago, which is visited by members of the Baha'i faith from all over the world.
THE NORWEGIAN EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH
The history of this church dates back to 1889 when a nucleus of Christian friends, with Rev. J. H. Meyer as pastor, organized a mission in Hoboken. In 1890 the church was organized and for forty-three years services were held there. During this time, two churches were built. In 1925 the church on Teaneck Road and Hillside Avenue was annexed to the mother church in Hoboken. A Sunday School and Mission were organized.
Three years ago the church had most of its membership in Teaneck and vicinity so the property in Hoboken was sold and the two churches merged. Nine pastors have served. The present pastor, Rev. H. C. Anderson, came from Chicago in 1927 and has served ever since.
The services are conducted for the most part in the Norwegian tongue. Besides the work at Teaneck, the church is supporting three missionaries: Rev. and Mrs. T. Olsen, Rev. G. Gjestland and a native evangelist.
Branches of the church consist of Sunday School, with J. Johansen as superintendent; Church Choir, R. A. Larsen, director; Stringband, H. Fostvedt, director; Ladies' Aid Society, Mrs. H. Moy, president; and Mildred E. Anderson, organist.
ST. PAUL'S LUTHERAN CHURCH
The attention of the Missionary Superintendent was drawn to the field of Teaneck by the fact that many people had built or bought homes and the need of a church was imperative. This section was canvassed between October 15 and October 22 and the first service was held on November 8, 1925 at the home of a parishioner.
A congregation was organized January 3, 1926 with thirty-five members on the charter list. Sunday School was organized January 10 with twenty-four members.
The need of a place of worship was so great that the contract for a plot, 150x150 with a new house on the corner of Church Street and Beaumont Avenue was taken January 24, 1926. The congregation was incorporated on February 17, 1926.
Rev. Charles W. Schnabel of Hamma Divinity School was invited to appear as a candidate on February 14 and the call was extended to him and accepted on March 8, 1926.
All of this was accomplished within three months time and that in the private house of one of the members as no quarters were available for services as yet.
From that point regular services were held each Sunday in the parsonage until 1928, when on October 7, the present building was dedicated with an impressive ceremony. Pastor Schnabel served continuously until his sudden death, July 2, 1935.
The present enrollment of the church is 435 members and 302 pupils in the Sunday School with a staff of 32. While the congregation is still without a pastor it is hoped that the pulpit will be filled in the very near future.
PHELPS MANOR METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
In August, 1929, the Jersey District Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church (Newark Conference) purchased the house in which services are now held, 1000 Queen Anne Road and three adjoining lots. The Rev. Ralph R. Roby was then pastor of the Teaneck M. E. Church and under his direction a Sunday School was organized with seven scholars. Mr. Harry Rice, a teacher in Bogota High School, was appointed superintendent and rendered efficient service in that capacity for four and one half years.
Rev. Charles Waldron, a retired minister, was appointed pastor in April, 1930. He served the church for four years. During his pastorate the church was organized, February, 1931; a Woman's Guild started which has become the main support of the church, and an Epworth League Society formed. A real growth was experienced and then as the "depression" continued many of the families who started the church moved away from the locality.
In April, 1934, the Rev. Merle N. Young was appointed to serve the church and had a year of great activity only to be removed to a field of enlarged opportunity.
The church is at present on a two point circuit with the Teaneck Methodist Episcopal Church and is served by the Rev. Alfred E. Willett.
GRACE LUTHERAN CHURCH
This church was founded in the Fall of 1930 by the Rev. Carl Bergen, pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church, Leonia, N. J. Pastor Bergen served the newly organized congregation faithfully until the task of serving two separate charges proved too great. In January, 1934, the Rev. Theodore W. Beiderwieden of St. Louis, Mo., was called to the pastorate.
At present the congregation is meeting temporarily in the Teaneck Center Building, 405 Cedar Lane. As soon as suitable financial arrangements can be made the Grace Church intends to erect a colonial type church with a seating capacity of 185. This building, to be erected on the corner of Helen Street and Claremont Avenue where the church owns a plot of ground, will be liturgically and correctly furnished. The social life of the congregation will be taken care of in the well-equipped basement.
Grace Church has a communicant membership of 75. The total number of parishioners is 238 and the Sunday records show a membership of 70 under the guidance of a superintendent, E. J. Scheiwe, and a corps of nine efficient teachers.
The Church Council is made up of the officers of the congregation, T. K. Torgesen, president; Alan Eifert, vice-president; R. C. Trygstad, secretary; and George Rath, financial secretary and treasurer; and the following men: John Schumacher, Henry Runge, C. A. Anderson, and John Deyst.
Mrs. Paul G. Marcher, organist, and Miss Helen Steuber, director of the Boys' Choir, have charge of the music.
JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER OF TEANECK
In the summer of 1932 a pressing need for the Jews of Teaneck to hold High Holy Days was realized. Dr. J. Dewey Schwarz, Israel Doskow, Dr. N. Saviet, and S. Stithres met at the home of Israel Doskow and arranged to hold the first services ever instituted in Teaneck. The studio of Israel Doskow on Elm Avenue was the chosen place of worship.
More than seventy persons attended the first service under the direction of Rabbi Pearlman, accompanied by a cantor. The need for regular services for the year was thought of and from then on Friday evening services were held there.
In the beginning of 1933 a Sunday School was opened wherein the children of Jewish faith were taught. This steady increase of enrollment made it necessary to engage what is now known as their headquarters, 780 Palisade Avenue.
The Center was obliged to engage the Square Circle Clubhouse for the High Holy Days of 1935 because of the crowded quarters on Palisade Avenue. More than 400 Jews attended these meetings.
Rabbi Emanuel Green was the first to serve the Jewish Community Center of Teaneck to b`e succeeded this year by Rabbi Charles Freedman.
Text from: Teaneck New Jersey Forty Years of Progress: 1895-1935, by Township of Teaneck, c1935. pp. 14-18.
Photos from: Local History Photo Collection of Teaneck Public Library