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

  • Central School
    Central School’s roots trace back to Camden’s earliest days of public education, named for its location in the Middle Ward, one of Camden’s original three wards before the 1871 Charter. In 1877, Camden’s Board of Education decided to replace the old school at South 4th Street… Read more: Central School
  • Girard Place
    Girard Place was a small, dead-end street that extended east from 916 St. John Street in Camden. First appearing in the Camden City Directories in 1890, Girard Place initially featured eleven homes. The street was later extended to connect with Newton Avenue after the demolition of… Read more: Girard Place
  • Gold Street
    Gold Street was a small, somewhat secluded street situated between South 8th Street and Silver Street, just south of Line Street in Camden. Accessible only via Silver Street by wagon or automobile, Gold Street and its neighboring Silver Street first appear in the historical record with… Read more: Gold Street
  • Milton Street
    Byron Street, Burns Street, and Milton Street in North Camden have an intertwined history that traces back to the late 19th century. According to the 1890-1891 directory, only a few homes existed on Milton Street, indicating that development started at the ends of Byron Street and… Read more: Milton Street
  • Riley Street
    Riley Street ran south from 419 Washington Street for one block to Berkley Street. It featured ten two-story brick rowhouses, five on each side, numbered 431 to 440. The lot of the E. A. Stevens School backed against the houses on the east side of Riley… Read more: Riley Street
  • Simmons Court
    Simmons Court is one of Camden’s “lost streets.” Prior to 1863, Henry Simmons, described in the Camden City Directories of that year as “colored” and working as a seaman, acquired a parcel of land comprising the three lots that would become 240, 242, and 244 Division… Read more: Simmons Court
  • Grant Street
    Grant Street was named after Ulysses S. Grant, the Civil War hero and 18th President of the United States.
  • A Child’s Life on Grant Street: Memories of Camden
    It all begins in a little row house (they call them townhouses now) on Grant Street in Camden NJ. I remember my mother telling me once that she and my father paid $3,000 for that house somewhere around 1952, when they married. I slept in the… Read more: A Child’s Life on Grant Street: Memories of Camden
  • Hale Street
    Hale Street, which stretched from Central Avenue to Ferry Avenue in a north-south direction, was situated west of the present-day railroad tracks. Its presence in Camden City Directories dates back to 1895. Initially, four residences lined Hale Street, numbered 1701, 1703, 1705, and 1707. Sometime between… Read more: Hale Street
  • Charles H. Hatch
    Charles Hollingshead Hatch was born in 1835, the son of George G. Hatch, who died in Portsmouth, Virginia in 1842, leaving Charles and his two siblings fatherless. His mother, Elizabeth Champion from Waterford Township, Gloucester County, turned to her family, the Champions, for support. The Champion… Read more: Charles H. Hatch
  • Basil P. Cook
    Basil Preston Cook was born in England. He entered the bar business during Prohibition and had several encounters with the law. By 1932, he was managing a bar at 939 South 5th Street. By 1942, Basil Cook was working as a salesman for the Camden County… Read more: Basil P. Cook
  • Alexander Peacock
    Alexander Peacock was one of the original members of the Camden Fire Department, joining as an extra man with Engine Company 1 on December 7, 1869. Before joining the fire department, he worked as a carpenter. In the fall of 1869, he lived at 1127 Broadway.… Read more: Alexander Peacock