The Church of the Redeemer in Longport is a must-visit landmark on Absecon Island. Built in 1908 along the bay at 20th and Atlantic Ave, It was struck by lightning and damaged in a fire on June 30, 2012.
Thanks to Bill Banks & Atlantic County Historical Society for the virtual tour.
The surviving structure was deemed unsafe and demolished on July 2, 2012. It was re-built & opened in June 2014.
The Spanish style church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
Risen from the Ashes: Church of the Redeemer, Longport, New Jersey
In June of 2012, the Spanish-style Church of the Redeemer burned to the ground when an electric pole fell on the wooden structure and sparked a fire during a strong storm.
For several years subsequently, summer services were held under a tent. Now, the Church of the Redeemer has been rebuilt according to its original architectural drawings- although raised in elevation to avoid flooding and with modern features such as fire suppression, an elevator, and air conditioning.
Money for rebuilding came from an insurance policy with $1 million in art coverage, as well as numerous donations-including one from the Jewish Federation of Atlantic & Cape May Counties.
The new structure’s stucco-clad exterior is actually cast concrete, and the roof replicates the original terra cotta tile-although lacking the original’s variety of hues. The new tiles were manufactured by the Ludowici Roof Tile Company, established in 1888 and makers of the original roof. The interior is clad in dark paneling, replicating details such as ceiling beams, choir stalls, and altar affixed to the wall.
Still in business today, the Willet Hauser Architectural Stained Glass Company-who created the church’s windows in the 1930s-found the original working drawings for the windows, and re-created them. Some of the glass was manufactured especially to look old, and some of it was authentically antique, imported from England and Germany.
The ten main windows feature nautical themes among the biblical ones: rope and rigging, wooden boats, sea horses, jellyfish, and shells. The cost of re-fabricating the windows alone came to nearly $900,000.
The Moeller organ from 1961 has been replaced by a similar one built by the Midland Pipe Organ Company. In a bulletin insert one Sunday, the church proclaimed, “at Redeemer, we stand fast with history and tradition to play the best liturgical, classical, and secular music possible.”
According to local lore, the original congregation was Quaker, like many of Longport’s first residents. The church subsequently adopted the denomination of its benefactor, Joseph P. Remington.