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

  • Bella Place
    Bella Place, shaped like an “L,” formerly boasted nine houses running north from 751 Spruce Street, with a narrow alley connecting to 754 Division Street. A passageway from Spruce Street allowed vehicle entry, while access from Division Street was narrower, designed for pedestrians. However, as of 2004, Bella Place stands devoid of houses. Access from… Read more: Bella Place
  • Beckett Street
    Beckett Street derives its name from Henry and Mary Beckett, who owned a significant parcel of land that was subdivided into town lots around 1853. The Becketts held ownership of land extending from Royden to Line Street and from West to Second Street. Originally, Beckett Street ran from east to west, stretching from Front Street… Read more: Beckett Street
  • Beacon Avenue
    Beacon Avenue in East Camden starts at the intersection of Line Street and South 30th Street, traverses Waldorf Avenue, and extends to the city line at Highland Avenue. The avenue further extends into Pennsauken Township. When the 1947 City Directories were compiled, no houses were present on Beacon Avenue. However, in the subsequent years, several… Read more: Beacon Avenue
  • Beach Street
    Beach Street, a small street in North Camden, once stretched from York to Erie Street, just west of Point Street. Although listed in the 1878 City Directory, houses did not appear in City Directories until 1890. By 1947, only three houses were listed on Beach Street: 930, 932, and 934. In around 2000, Beach Street… Read more: Beach Street
  • Baxter Street
    Baxter Street, formerly known as Newton Street until 1882, and colloquially referred to as “Hog Alley” until at least 1894, underwent a name change as part of a 1882 ordinance. It is believed to have been named after John Baxter, who once operated a hides and tallow business at the southwest corner of South 6th… Read more: Baxter Street
  • Barton Street
    Barton Street, alternatively known as Barton Place, extends for half a block south from 774 Division Street. It is documented in Camden city directories beginning in 1890. Although not depicted on Sanborn Maps, these maps do reveal non-residential buildings associated with contractor Aaron Ward, residing at 821 South 8th Street. Satellite photos from the early… Read more: Barton Street
  • Bartlett Walk
    Bartlett Walk is situated within the Crescent Gardens development, located at the southernmost end of Camden’s Fairview section. This development was constructed sometime between 1924 and 1942. The walk extends southwest from Independence Road to the property line of the development.
  • Bannard Alley
    Bannard Alley, also referred to as Bannard Avenue, extends southeast from Kaighn Avenue to Liberty Street. At one point, it seems to have been extended toward Mechanic Street, running alongside the elevated railroad tracks. Its inception likely stems from serving as a service road for the rail line. While there are no businesses or residences… Read more: Bannard Alley
  • Bank Street
    Bank Street stretches from Baird Boulevard and Carman Street southwest, crossing Marlton Pike and continuing to Admiral Wilson Boulevard, where it concludes. In the 1947 city directory, only four houses were listed on Bank Street, specifically in the 2500 block. Later on, a block of apartments was constructed nearby, but these were deemed uninhabitable and… Read more: Bank Street
  • Avon Street
    Avon Street is a one-block thoroughfare, stretching south from 429 Royden Street to Line Street, positioned between West Street and South 4th Street in South Camden. It intersects with Beckett Street. The street’s layout seems to have been established between 1878 and 1887. By 1906, there were six two-story brick homes lining Avon Street.
  • Reminiscing at 582 Auburn Street
    I was born in Parkside in 1933, and lived there until 1944. I was 11 years old, when our rented house at 1039 Princess Ave., and hundreds of others citywide, were sold to accommodate the workers who poured into Camden for war-related jobs at the N.Y. Ship Yard, RCA, and other defense-connected companies. My parents… Read more: Reminiscing at 582 Auburn Street
  • Auburn Street
    Auburn Street is a small street that stretches from Broadway to South Sixth Street, located between Benson and Washington Streets. It consists of 19 homes, numbered from 588 to 594. During the 1980s and 1990s, much of Auburn Street underwent redevelopment by “urban homesteaders” — private individuals who arrived in Camden. These new homeowners advocated… Read more: Auburn Street