Welcome to Camden History

400 Block of Federal Street Postcard, circa 1890

Photo above is from the 400 block of Federal Street in approximately 1890.

Welcome to Camden History, unsurprisingly about Camden, New Jersey, a city steeped in history and brimming with stories that have left an indelible mark on the tapestry of America’s past. Situated on the banks of the Delaware River, Camden has a rich and complex history that spans centuries. From its indigenous Lenape inhabitants to the bustling industrial hub of the 19th and 20th centuries, and from its pivotal role in the Underground Railroad to its contributions to the birth of the recording industry, Camden has played a significant part in shaping the nation’s narrative.

Camden’s origins can be traced back to the early 17th century when European settlers first arrived in the region. Over time, it evolved from a quaint village into a thriving industrial center, earning it the nickname “The City Invincible” in the late 19th century. The city’s industries, including shipbuilding, manufacturing, and commerce, contributed to its growth and prosperity.

But Camden’s history is not just one of industry and commerce; it’s also a story of resilience, community, and cultural diversity. Throughout its past, the city has been home to waves of immigrants, each adding their unique traditions and flavors to the city’s vibrant cultural mosaic.

Join us on a journey through time as we explore the people, places, and events that have shaped Camden’s captivating history. From the waterfront to the neighborhoods, from famous figures to everyday citizens, we invite you to discover the hidden gems and untold tales that make Camden a city worth exploring and celebrating.

Whatever your interest, we invite you to join us, have a virtual coffee, subscribe to our email updates, and contribute your own insights.

Remnants of Camden’s history are all around you if you know where to look!

Latest Posts

  • John K. Cowperthwaite
    John Keble Cowperthwaite holds the distinction of being Camden’s first mayor elected by popular vote, a departure from the previous selection process by City Council. Born in 1787 on the east side of the Cooper River near the Federal Street bridge, he relocated to Camden in 1820. Known as a lay judge, he rendered judgments… Read more: John K. Cowperthwaite
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital
    Haddon Avenue and Vesper Avenue From the book, Camden County Medical Society, 1846-1956, published by the Camden County Medical Society, 1957 Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Camden, New Jersey, was opened to patients on July 1, 1950, for the care of all races, colors, and creeds. The hospital is owned and operated by the Sisters… Read more: Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital
  • History of Camden County: Macedonia African Methodist Episcopal Church
    The following is derived from George Reeser Prowell’s History of Camden County, New Jersey published in 1886 Macedonia Methodist Episcopal Church of Camden is situated on Spruce Street, below Third. In 1832 Mrs. Anna George, a resident of South Camden, began a series of prayer meetings in different houses on Spruce Street, below Third, and… Read more: History of Camden County: Macedonia African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Charles A. Reynolds – South Jersey: A History
    This passage is excerpted from South Jersey: A History, 1624-1924 Charles Augustus Reynolds was born at Portsmouth, Virginia May 18, 1870, the son of George C. Washington and Augusta Ann Reynolds. When he was eleven years of age his family moved to Philadelphia. His first work was in a shoe store in that city, and… Read more: Charles A. Reynolds – South Jersey: A History
  • Charles A. Reynolds
    Charles Augustus Reynolds was a prominent figure in Camden, deeply involved in both business and civic affairs until his untimely death at the age of 54 in 1924. He co-founded and served as president of The Keystone Leather Company, a major employer in Camden at the time. Additionally, he was instrumental in establishing the Merchants’… Read more: Charles A. Reynolds
  • Victory Garage
    628 Kaighn Ave aka Earl Scheib’s Auto Paint Shop The history of the Victory Garage at 7th & Kaighn Avenue is a fascinating tale of business evolution. Established in 1923, it operated under the ownership of Edward Rosen by 1938 and through the late 1940s. Edward and his wife Belle resided at 1273 Magnolia Avenue… Read more: Victory Garage
  • Litwin Brother’s Market
    801 Elm Street, Camden, NJ. The story of the Litwin family is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and resilience. Isadore and Reba Litwin, originally from Russia, settled in Philadelphia before World War I. By 1930, they were residing at 2510 South 9th Street with their three children: Edward, Philip, and Sylvia. Isadore already owned… Read more: Litwin Brother’s Market
  • The River Line Light Rail
    The South Jersey light rail system, known as the Riverline, started on March 14, 2004. The line consisted of 20 stops and costed commuters $1.10 per trip. Rife with controversies, a 1996 study had concluded that a Burlington route would be less suitable than a Gloucester County route and there was quite a bit of… Read more: The River Line Light Rail
  • Neigh, Nay
    It’s All In The Game, by A. Charles Corotis Venus. Paris was the judge and Helen of Troy the pawn. Result: the Trojan War. Somebody always gets hurt. This is all by way of explaining that when I accepted Sam Walker’s invitation to a party at Monmouth Park I was motivated solely by a desire… Read more: Neigh, Nay
  • Get Thee Behind Me
    It’s All In The Game, by A. Charles Corotis They swooped down on me with the horn of Ray Prideaux’s new Cadillac calling enticingly, alluringly, like the siren-song of Homer’s sea-nymphs. “Come and join us this sunny weekend in Atlantic City,” the fluted notes seemed to say. Realtor leaders from upstate, they were on their… Read more: Get Thee Behind Me
  • It’s All In The Game – Preface
    By A. Charles Corotis Preface It was a long, long time ago under circumstances of exceedingly pleasant remembrance that I once was told, “You make love like you write: sometimes tenderly, sometimes violently.” The combined limitations of literary dissemination and advancing age make academic the most intriguing phase of that analogy. What follows on these… Read more: It’s All In The Game – Preface
  • Bulson Street
    Bulson Street once stretched eastward from Broadway to South 11th Street alongside the railroad tracks connecting Camden to the rest of South Jersey. The street is believed to have been named after Gilbert Bulson, a farmer who owned a sizable parcel of land in the area during the 19th century. City Directories dating back to… Read more: Bulson Street