By unanimous acclaim on Monday evening, the Verona Town Council designated the Verona United Methodist Church as a town landmark.
The church, located at the corner of Montrose Avenue and Hill Streets, was built in 1909 and is a so-called Akron Plan structure. Some of the interior walls can be raised or lowered with pulleys to change how much space is available for worship or Sunday school classes. The Verona Landmarks Preservation Commission, which had pushed the designation, told the Council that the New Jersey Historical Commission was “astounded” to learn that the church’s pulley system was still intact. Windows in the church have been tentatively attributed to the workshop of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
The present church was the second building for Verona’s Methodist community, which the Landmarks commission says was the first congregation to organize in Verona, back in 1833.
In granting the Methodist Church landmark status, the Council makes it possible for the church to seek landmark designation by the state and access to larger, state-level historic preservation funds.
The Methodist Church is the second structure to be landmarked in Verona, which is done with the express consent of property owners. In February 2010, the Council designated the Erie Railroad Freight Shed at 62 Depot Street. While landmark status will not prevent an historic structure from ever being demolished, it will ensure that proper procedures are followed for changes to that building.