You hear it often nowadays: Look up. Look up from your cell phone. Look up from your laptop. Look up and appreciate your surroundings. There’s a corner in Cranford where it’s impossible not to look up. It’s the corner of North Union and Centennial, where one of the most striking pieces of local architecture stretches majestically toward the clouds. With countless cedar shingles, a soaring clock tower, and the eye-catching patina of its bronze spires, Presbyterian Church demands that you look up.
Cranford NJ First Presbyterian Church
First Presbyterian Church is one of the oldest churches in Cranford—founded in 1851, back when the town was known as Craneville. The congregation grew quickly, and the church moved from its humble beginnings on Alden Street to the site where it currently stands. The church’s bronze bell dates back to the 1800s, when it was used not just as a call to congregation services, but as a general emergency alarm for the town before it had a police force. Various renovations over the years have added even more character to the building, and today it is truly a sight to behold.
Artist Julie Castillo
My neighbor, the ever-talented artist Julie Castillo, created her watercolor painting of Presbyterian Church during the very first “Paint the Town” plein-air contest in Cranford in 2010. She said, “The naturalness of the cedar shake, the stained glass, the octagonal roof—I love the way the pieces of the building hook together. Its beauty draws you in because it’s so unusual.” Julie has had a wildly successful career in commercial illustration in addition to winning multiple awards for her artwork in solo and group shows. A member of the American Watercolor Society and the National Association of Women Artists, Julie teaches at the Visual Arts Center of NJ and the Cranford Community Center. Visit Julie’s website at Julie Castillo Fine Art
Like Julie, I find it’s not all that difficult to remember to look up when I Live … Love … Local!
Leave a Reply