Octavius V. Catto Elementary School


2930 Saunders Street, Camden, NJ

The Octavius V. Catto Elementary School, situated at 2930 Saunders Street in East Camden, was erected in 1929 under the leadership of Mayor Winfield S. Price. It replaced an existing school originally constructed by the Town of Stockton, which became part of the Camden school system in 1899 following Stockton’s annexation by Camden. The school, an architectural creation by Arnold Moses, stood adjacent to the Hosanna African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Arnold Moses was a prolific architect responsible for several prominent buildings in Camden, including the East Camden Firehouse at 27th & Federal Streets, a firehouse on Kaighn Avenue, various structures for Campbell’s Soup, a row of houses at 7th & Vine Streets, Eagles Hall, the Isaac Budd house at 1501 Baird Boulevard, as well as multiple office and factory buildings still standing today. His reconstruction of the Senate wing of the State Capitol in Trenton in 1903, designed in American Renaissance style to mirror the Assembly quarters, is also renowned.

At its inception, Catto Elementary served the black community in a time when elementary schools in Camden were segregated. One notable alumnus, Jerome Carpenter, gained recognition in the 1930s and early 1940s for his baseball prowess in the independent leagues thriving in Camden.

By October 2003, Catto School accommodated students in grades 1-4, including a special needs self-contained class and two sections for grade 5. It was part of a broader initiative to reconstruct Camden’s schools, with plans for a new Catto School completed in 2008, situated on Dudley Grange. Dudley Grange was once home to diplomat and lawyer Thomas Dudley and served as the East Camden location of the city’s public library for many years.


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