Donkey’s Place

Donkey's Place

1223 Haddon Avenue

Donkey’s Place, at 1223 Haddon Avenue, does not appear as a bar in the 1918-1919 Camden City Directory.

The building appears to have operated as a speakeasy during the Prohibition years, 1919 through 1933. A private club called the Parkside Athletic Association had space in the building, and an elaborate system of alarms and bells was installed, which is still in evidence today.

By 1939 the bar at 1223 Haddon Avenue had been acquired by Charles E. A. “Pop” Mathews, who had operated bars, taverns, and hotels throughout the city for many years. By 1939 Mr. Mathews was living above the bar. Mr. Mathews resided at the bar until his passing on July 6, 1942. After his death, his wife and sons took a shot at operating the establishment, as the bar appears in the 1943 Camden City Directory under the name of Mrs. Ada Mathews, his widow.

By 1947 the Mathews family had sold the property to Leon Lucas, who had been the on the United States 1928 Olympic boxing team as a light heavyweight, in the early 1940s.

Leon Lucas renamed the establishment Donkey’s Place, and the bar soon gained a reputation for it’s delicious steak sandwiches, served with fried onions on a poppy seed roll. The bar remains in the hands of the Lucas family, with son Bob Lucas operating the business since his father’s passing in 1971.

Donkey’s Place remain open as of Fall 2022, known far and wide for delicious food and drink. In 2003 Bob Lucas opened a second location in Medford NJ, and in 2005, a third Donkey’s Place opened up, at 1018 Asbury Avenue in Ocean City NJ.


Location



Related Photos


Related Articles

  • Robert L. Lucas

    Robert L. Lucas

    Robert Lee “Bob” Lucas was the son of Alice and Leon “Donkey” Lucas. His father achieved recognition as a boxer in the 1928 Olympics, competing in the light-heavyweight division. In 1943, Leon Lucas purchased a bar located at 1223 Haddon Avenue from Mrs. Ada Mathews, the widow of Charles E. A. Mathews, a long-time bar…

    Read More…

  • Leon Lucas

    Leon Lucas

    Leon Lucas, born in Camden, New Jersey on September 4, 1901, was the son of Polish immigrants. At the age of 18, he was living at 1103 Louis Street, working at one of Camden’s shipyards. In late 1926, while working as a hardwood floor layer, he began boxing at the Arcadia gym in Philadelphia, living…

    Read More…

  • Donkey’s Place

    Donkey’s Place

    1223 Haddon Avenue Donkey’s Place, at 1223 Haddon Avenue, does not appear as a bar in the 1918-1919 Camden City Directory. The building appears to have operated as a speakeasy during the Prohibition years, 1919 through 1933. A private club called the Parkside Athletic Association had space in the building, and an elaborate system of…

    Read More…

  • Camden landmark does one thing – and does it right

    Camden landmark does one thing – and does it right

    Camden Courier-Post – December 3, 2004 Owned by one family for 61 years, Donkey’s Place sticks to cheesesteak by Eileen Stillwell, Courier-Post Staff Donkey’s Place, a bar and cheesesteak landmark on Haddon Avenue, is alive and well after 61 years of operation by the Lucas family. Located on the corner of Haddon Avenue and Liberty…

    Read More…

  • Donkey’s Place is a Stubborn Survivor, and so is its Cheesesteak

    Donkey’s Place is a Stubborn Survivor, and so is its Cheesesteak

    Philadelphia Inquirer – July 11, 2004 By Rick Nichols, Inquirer Columnist It is a bit of Camden in amber now, Donkey’s Place is, or maybe a shrine – the dingy bar hung with photos of the founder, his dukes perpetually up; the grill steaming with steaks and onions; the back room still swathed in the…

    Read More…

  • In Camden, A Neighborhood Bar with The Works

    In Camden, A Neighborhood Bar with The Works

    Philadelphia Inquirer – June 16, 1993 Cheers to Donkey’s Place, Still Kicking After 50 Years By Gwen Florio, Inquirer Staff Writer CAMDEN — It’s the classic neighborhood bar: all soothing dark wood and low, easy talk and the murmur of a ballgame from a discreet corner television. So it gives you a jolt to walk…

    Read More…


Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.