My visit to Trenton came with an approach from US 1 in Pennsylvania over the Delaware river. The State Capitol of New Jersey is the closest capitol building to state border of any state capitol. As you cross the river I thought that it will be an easy location to explore. I was wrong. It's golden dome is easy to spot from the South or even the East, but it is actually tucked into a number of urban buildings. I managed to find a space to park on State Street and strolled to the front entrance. Built in 1792 it is the third-oldest state house in continuous use in the United States. I also thought that this must be where Trenton growth started and the state surely was ahead of the church in being established here. Once again, I was wrong.
I walked a few blocks north then a couple of blocks west and found two old churches that actually preceded state government showing up. St. Michael's Episcopal church was founded in 1703 among farms and dirt roads in the area called "The Township of Hopewell" (Now Ewing) This is where members of the Church of England wanted to found their church. This area is now a marker on the grounds of the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital. Trenton prior to the Revolutionary War was just a small village maybe 100 houses, and Episcopal church on King street which was named St. Michael's, probably because the cornerstone was laid on on the Feast of St. Michael. This location became very instrumental in the battle of Trenton with the church grounds the place of hand to hand fighting. No Weapons could be used on church grounds and church services were suspended on July 7, 1776 to close the church indefinitely. The next day the Declaration of Independence was read on the steps of the Trenton Court House. Fighting continued until January 4th , 1983 when it opened again.
The history of the church across the street from St. Michael's is The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, which is where the Commander of the Hessian army was mortally wounded and died on December 27, 1776. it wasn't until 1865 when the property was purchased by Reverend Anthony Smith that St. Mary's was established and dedicated. the church was destroyed by fire in 1956 and a new Cathedral erected and dedicated by 1959. I walked back to my car near the Capitol amazed by the distinctions of site and history between these three buildings. Church , War and State were the timeline of this story in Trenton, New Jersey.