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Presbyterian Church in Basking Ridge facts for kids

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Basking Ridge NJ Presby Chapel PHS717
Oak tree and church, on pre-1923 postcard
Presbyterian Church in Basking Ridge
Presbyterian Church in Basking Ridge, NJ, south view.jpg
Church and oak tree to the right, in 2013
Location 1 E. Oak Street, Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Area 1.1 acres (0.45 ha)
Built 1839
Architectural style Greek Revival
NRHP reference No. 74001190
Quick facts for kids
Significant dates
Added to NRHP December 31, 1974

Presbyterian Church in Basking Ridge is a historic church at 1 E. Oak Street in the Basking Ridge section of Bernards Township in Somerset County, New Jersey, United States. Its churchyard held the Old Oak Tree of Basking Ridge, estimated to be 600 years old, until 2017.

The church congregation was founded in 1717. The present church was built in 1839 in Greek Revival style.

Old Oak Tree

02016.Basking.Ridge.Oak.distressed.2
600 year-old "Holy Oak", June 2016

In the historical graveyard of the church stood a White Oak, sometimes called the "Holy Oak", until 2017. It was 619 years old, possibly the oldest white oak in the world. It was nearly 100 feet (30 m) tall and had a spread of more than 130 feet (40 m). It had a trunk circumference of 20 feet (6.1 m) and its lower branches were supported.

English evangelist George Whitfield and American clergyman James Davenport, preached under the tree on November 5, 1740 to a crowd of 3,000, in the First Great Awakening.

George Washington's troops were drilled on the village green, within view, and Washington picnicked under the tree with the Marquis de LaFayette.

The 5,500 French troops of Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau marched by in 1781, on their route to Yorktown, Virginia and the decisive battle of the American Revolutionary War.

In June 2016, the tree was "failing to thrive" and showed signs of distress as its upper parts failed to sprout leaves. By September 2016, the tree had died.

The tree was taken down over three days with the work finished on April 26, 2017. A young white oak grown from an acorn of the old tree has been planted in the churchyard.

The new biggest tree in New Jersey is identified as another white oak tree in the yard of the Sparta Historical Association of Sparta, New Jersey.

Church

The church building is 72 feet (22 m) by 46 feet (14 m), with a stone masonry foundation and red brick walls. The long side of the church has five windows 14 feet (4.3 m) tall and 5 feet (1.5 m) wide, with 30 over 30 over 30 glass panes in three sashes. As of 1974, much of the glass seemed to be original.

The Historic American Buildings Survey inventoried the church in 1939.

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

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