Outside Century 21

La la la la la

Century 21 is a small chain of department stores centered in and around New York City. This one in Morristown is only one of two in New Jersey. (The other’s in Paramus.)

True to its Revolutionary War roots, the exterior of the Morristown store is adorned with relief portraits of locally significant historical figures, as well as a commemorative plaque or two:

Continental Army Encampments: 1776-1782. Site of Baptist Church. Used as Smallpox Hospital during the encampment of 1777. Continental Soldiers were buried in graveyard adjoining.

Used as Smallpox Hospital during the encampment of 1777. Continental Soldiers were buried in graveyard adjoining.

…Which is interesting, because the First Baptist Church is a few blocks away, and the closest graveyard belongs to the Presbyterian church across the road.

My book says nothing on the matter, and the interwebs are giving me conflicting information. The most logical explanation I can find is derived from morristourism.org:

Presbyterian Church of Morristown is the oldest congregation in the community. During the Revolution it served as a small pox hospital for Washington’s troops and the graves in the church yard reflect this history. Today, visitors will see the third church building at the same site.

Maybe— and this is completely speculative, mind you— maybe the current Presbyterian church was built on the original Baptist church grounds? Maybe there didn’t used to be a street separating Century 21’s commemorative plaque and the Presbyterian church, so it was all on one lot? Maybe the plaque-writers actually meant the Presbyterian church?

I’m at a bit of a loss here. Any Morristown experts out there?

One Comment to “Outside Century 21”

  1. Baptists are unaligned congregations–and notoriously quarrelsome. Presbyterians can be grouped into Presbyteries. If you have time, perhaps check if the Baptist congregation split into or realigned itself with a Presbytery. However, the most obvious explanation, which you guessed above, is that brass plaques are notoriously inaccurate and the denominational difference was mistaken. Fascinating as always, Josy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: