Stained Glass Windows of Jersey City

Old Bergen ChurchSt. Patrick's Church, Photo Copyright 2002 Leon Yost. Meyer & Co., Munich.

Jersey City is a city of invisible wonders. Hidden behind centurial edifices, discernable only from within, are decorative glass windows of delicate beauty.

Visit the stately Hudson County Court House on Newark Avenue; step into the center of its flawless rotunda, and, looking upward past four painted allegorical pendentives, confront a dodecagonal glass dome of flowering patterns. Enter the neo-classical Labor Bank in Journal Square and behold a slender vaulted glass ceiling arched over gilded teller stations. Wander the halls of City Hall on Grove Street and discover an elegant, circular skylight within the cavernous confines of the Municipal Council Chambers.

Old Bergen ChurchSt. Anne's Church, Photo Copyright 2002 Leon Yost. Designed by Morgan & Sons.

The surreptitious art of stained glass is most evident in ecclesiastical structures graced by breathtaking biblical pictorials. The famed Tiffany & Company studios, which once operated glass and brass works throughout the metropolitan region, created some of the finest religious windows in Jersey City. Tiffany masters like Robert Dodge, Benjamin Sellers, and West Hoboken's own F. E. Freund were commissioned by wealthy parishes to design immense rose windows, spectacularly suspended over mosaic-lined transepts. Driven perhaps by their own powerful spirituality, these artists installed stunning rows of memorial lancet windows dedicated to founding fathers, donors' deceased spouses, or entire families that had met calamitous ends. Newly-minted clerestory panels glowed overhead, outlining long colonnaded naves in floods of filtered rays. Illumined chancel windows transcribed through sensual paint and light dramatic narratives of persecuted saints in agony and unleashed angels in flight.

Old Bergen ChurchSacred Heart Church, Photo Copyright 2002 Leon Yost. Architecture by Ralph Adams Cram.

Other renowned firms produced tinted windows for Jersey City's varied sanctuaries, including the Henry Birkenstock Studios; J.R. Lamb & Son; Marchese & Hamersma; G. Schlaginweit; A. L. Brink; and several prestigious houses that operated out of Paterson, NJ, such as the Payne Studios, F. W. Riley, and the Luther Studios. Manufacturers in the far-off reaches of Munich, Germany, such as Meyer & Co., contributed just as prodigiously, completing substantial pigmented glass orders. It was not uncommon to witness crates of memorial windows being hauled to their divine destinations high atop railroad trestles, accompanied sometimes by exposed marble statuary.

Sadly, not all of Jersey City's stained glass treasures have fared well over the decades. In fact, only a few houses of worship contain intact window collections. Several have been extracted from their sinuous traceries and auctioned off to foreign buyers. Scores have perished in fires. Some have had rocks hurled directly through their unprotected surfaces; others have been permitted by congregations to buckle and bend.

Old Bergen ChurchSaint Joseph's Church, Photo Copyright 2002 Leon Yost. Artist: Arnold & Locke.

The following inventory list is a work-in-progress and will reach completion as more research is conducted and discoveries are made. If you have any pertinent historical information, photos, drawings, documents, etc., please contact the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy.

Disclaimer: The following properties are private unless otherwise noted. Contact the appropriate management to arrange visits. Check hours of operation at public buildings. The Landmarks Conservancy cannot be held liable for trespassing and/or injuries incurred.

Old Bergen Church

Pastor: Rev. Roland Ratmeyer
1 Highland Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07306
Tel: 201.433.1815
Year Erected: 1841
Architects: William Kirk, Clark & Van Nest
Stained Glass: Louis Comfort Tiffany (memorial sanctuary window);
J.R. Lamb & Son; Emil Zundel

Second Reformed Church of Hudson City

Pastor: Rev. John Muniz
940 Summit Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07307
Tel: 201.798.8856
Year Erected: 1909
Architect: F. F. Leicht
Stained Glass: Henry Birkenstock Studios, Mt. Vernon, NY

Cotton Temple Church of God in Christ

(Formerly South Bergen Reformed Church)
Pastor: Embria Sconiers
383 Bergen Avenue (corner of Boyd Avenue)
Jersey City, NJ 07305
Tel: 201.333.7870
Year Erected: 1892
Architect: F. F. Leicht
Stained Glass: Benjamin Sellers (formerly of Tiffany & Company, NY, NY)

Justice William Brennan Court House

(Formerly Hudson County Court House)
583 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07306
Contact: William La Rosa, Administrator
Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs
Tel: 201.459.2070
Year Erected: 1906-1910
Architect: Hugh Roberts
Stained Glass: Rotunda Dome and Court Ceilings by E. F. Freund of Tiffany Studios

St. Anne's Church

Pastor: Father Victor Kennedy
3545 Kennedy Boulevard
Jersey City, NJ 07307
Tel: 201.433.8500
Year Erected: 1926
Architect: Louis Giele
Stained Glass: Morgan & Sons, New York

Orient Church of God

18-20 Ivy Place
Jersey City, NJ 07304
Tel: 201.433.5895
Year Erected: Mid-19th Century
Architect: Architect Presently Unknown
Stained Glass: Artist Presently Unknown

St. Paul the Apostle Roman Catholic Church

14 Greenville Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07305
Tel: 201.433.8500
Year Erected: 1882
Architect: Edward Simon
Stained Glass: Falck Art Glass Works of New York

City Hall

280 Grove Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302
Tel: 201.547.5000
Year Erected: 1894-1897
Architect: Louis Broome
Stained Glass: Chamber Dome Attributed to Tiffany Studios;
City Seal Window by E. F. Freund of Tiffany Studios

Sacred Heart Church

183 Bayview Avenue (at Martin Luther King Drive)
Jersey City, NJ 07305
Tel: 201.332.6771
Year Erected: 1923
Architect: Ralph Adams Cram
Stained Glass: Wright Goodhugh (transept and rose windows); Rambusch Studios (blue memorial transept window)
Hiemer & Company, Clifton, NJ (nave, basement, and rectory windows; installed 1953)


Sacred Spaces Preservation Links

  1. National Trust for Historic Preservation
  2. Partners for Sacred Places
  3. New Jersey Churchscape

Stained Glass Studios

  1. Rambusch Decorating Company
  2. J&R Lamb Studios
  3. Franz Mayer Studios
  4. Charles Barone Studios

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