Floating Church of the Redeemer

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Moored off Dock Street from 1847-1851.
This mobile house of worship was built in Bordentown NJ in 1847, and towed to Philadelphia’s bustling Dock Street wharf. Believed to be the first floating church on the East Coast (predating a similar church in New York by three years), The Floating Church of the Redeemer was a project of the Churchman’s Missionary Association for Seamen, an arm of the Episcopal Church, and was devoted to serving sailors.

The church left Philadelphia in 1851, when its pier was leased for more worldly purposes. Towed to Camden, it was hauled ashore and dragged on rollers to the corner of Broadway and Rayden Streets where it served a small congregation under the name St. John’s. The land-locked river-church was consumed by fire on Christmas morning several years later.

Sources: PlanPhilly Jackson, Joseph. The Encyclopedia of Philadelphia, 1931
Smith, Phillip Chadwick Foster. Philadelphia on the River, 1986)

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