The year was 1927 and the future had hardly ever looked brighter for the City of Camden. Times were prosperous, business and industry were booming, and the city was full of recently constructed public buildings, civic improvements, schools, the new Delaware River bridge and its new highway to the suburbs. The stock market crash of 1929 and the Depression that followed were in the unimagined future.
It was in these times that Camden prepare for its 100th anniversary, and in this spirit of optimism that the city fathers under the direction of Mayor Winfield S. Price commissioned the booklet whose text you will find below.
The cost of administering City Government in Camden is lower per capita than in any city its size in New Jersey.The manner in which the low per capita figure is continued year after year is another evidence of consistent economy.Yes! the economy brakes are functioning.
THERE ARE MANY GOOD REASONS WHY CAMDEN KEEPS GROWING
Location, Transportation, Climate, Markets, Homes, Industries, Good Government, all combine to produce a mighty good city.
CAMDEN with an area of 8.56 square miles is on the East bank of the Delaware, fifty-five miles from Delaware Bay and about one hundred miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Directly across the river and joined to Camden by the world’s largest suspension bridge, is the City of Philadelphia.
Camden’s population as estimated January 1, 1928, is 140,000, giving us the fourth largest city in New Jersey. The U. S. Census of 1920 gave the population as 116,309. The city’s growth is steady and substantial with the increase representing a desirable class, three-fourths of the population being native whites.
Camden is flanked on all but the river side with beautiful suburbs devoted largely to homes ranging from the modest little bungalow to the mansion. If the annexation policy so much the vogue with many cities were followed here, the city population might easily reach the 200,000 mark.
Industries are largely responsible for the birth and growth of the numerous small towns within a few minutes ride of the city. This feature has an important part in the industrial picture of the section. Availability of homes makes residents of industrial working transients.
The labor market in the Camden territory has few parallels. In addition to the population of the City proper and hundreds of suburban towns, there is the immense population of Philadelphia to draw on.
There never is a period when sufficient help is not obtainable. At the same time the rate of unemployment in times of depression is invariably below the average because of the diversity of activities.
The State of New Jersey produces more fruits and vegetables than does the State of Florida and three-fourths of this amount is raised in the County of Camden and three adjoining counties.
Thus in season there is a heavy demand for farm help.
The building trades also find almost continual activity in view of the tremendous growth in suburban districts. Hundreds of homes are in process of building at all times and the weather is such that all-year construction is the rule rather than the exception.
Coupled with the fertile field for farm and building trades help, is the mighty demand of the 360 industries which turn out their products within the limits of the City of Camden. All of these demands are amply met by the great manpower supply immediately available.
But jobs alone are not sufficient to hold population, especially when there is general prosperity throughout the nation. The average American workman will move his family to another city or town before he will submit to living conditions below a given standard.
The location of Camden, in the midst of a great producing territory makes fresh foods easily available and holds the items of daily expense.
Living costs in Camden are below the average for the entire country, Federal reports disclose. Not only the proximity of the Jersey farmer, but also the vast buying power of the Philadelphia market have an effect on retail food prices here. Food staples of every variety may be had conveniently and economically. That is one reason why Camden holds its population at a growing pace.
Among other important staples of every day demand, clothing and furniture may be had here in any range at almost any price far we exist in a territory where they are produced an large scales.
The City educational system is conducted along the mast approved modern lines. Forty-one public schools take care of the youth of the City and in addition there are the parochial and private institutions.
The children in Camden are a healthy lot.
This is shown by health records. Disease is below the average for this size community and the low death rate among infants is in itself sufficient testimony to the manner in which health is guarded by the municipality and the individual.
But we have a healthy climate here. The winter season of ’27-’28 may be taken as an example. While we were reading about blizzards and zero weather in other so-called temperate sections, this part of Southern New Jersey was enjoying an approach to June in January. One healthy snow storm per Winter is about the average and never does the white blanket survive the sun’s rays far a week. Green grass is more common than is white snow in this territory. Extreme cold IS rare and the domestic coal dealer is one of the most dissatisfied among businessmen. The U. S. Weather Bureau describes our climate as “ideal” with an average yearly temperature of 55 degrees.
The combination of employment and climate keeps the district growing.
Rents are moderate and homes may be purchased at prices to suit most any income. Hundreds of building and loan associations prove a boon to the home builder and mortgage money is ever plentiful to help along the buyer.
Camden lays no claim to being the “Wonder City,” but it does contend that all of the essential elements to health and success are to be found here and are more easily obtained than in most sections.
Analysis shows that Federal surveys place Camden at the top of the list in many important respects.
Far instance, there is the question of domestic water supply.
The U. S. Geological Survey Bureau tells us that Camden’s drinking water contains.01 parts per 1000 of iron and that it is tasty and soft. The technical reports go on at great length and finally lapse into understandable English, disclosing that in the opinion of the Federal experts Camden’s domestic water supply ranks among the very best to be had in any city. The water is obtained from a series of artesian wells, almost two hundred of them.
Here is another instance of where an imÂportant group places Camden up top in one of the most important elements of city life.
The National Board of Fire Underwriters doesn’t miss anything when it compiles figÂures setting forth fire losses for cities, towns, villages, etc.
Traveling among the masses of figures supplied, we find that the City of Camden, New Jersey, has for several years shown the lowest fire loss rate of any city its size in the country.
In the above connection it is appropriate to state here that the progressive administration of civic affairs has had much to do with this enviable civic record as Camden was the first city in the United States to have a completely motorized fire department. When other departments were answering alarms by horse drawn means, Camden was speeding along with motor-driven apparatus.
Intensive instruction in fire fighting methods and modern apparatus keep the Camden department on the high rung of efficiency which enables it to hold the city fire loss to its low mark.
That other branch of the protective arm of a city’s government, the police department, gives further evidence of providing security for citizens.
Major crimes are almost absent from the records of the City. The petty criminals we have ever with us. The bootleggers bootleg and the brewers brew until the police step in, just as in most localities, their activities being held to a minimum. But the bank robbers don’t rob banks and safe blowers stay their distance from this City.
There never has been a bank robbery here and payroll robberies are something we read about having happened elsewhere.
Modern methods of training with wide-awake personnel make for efficient police administration. One of the means having much to do with the tendency of professional criminals to give Camden a wide berth is a signal system whereby the touch of a button at headquarters illuminates a red light on every police signal box on the streets. By this system each patrolman on duty is apprised at short notice to be on the lookout for certain suspects.
The proximity of Camden to the larger city, Philadelphia and the easy access across the Delaware Bridge, provide a serious problem for the Camden police, but despite danger from the neighboring criminal element serious crime waves are entirely absent.
There are many more answers to the question;
City taxes are held down to a point where they are the lowest for any city of its size in the State and are lower than most smaller communities.
There are almost two hundred acres of parks and playgrounds to provide recreation and health spots for residents and transients and in addition swimming and wading pools are maintained by the City Parks Department.
The City system of paved streets is linked with the Camden County and State of New Jersey systems of highways. No better roads are to be found anywhere than those leading from Camden in every direction. The famed White Horse Pike has its beginning in Camden and.its ending in Atlantic City.
All of the seashore resorts are within easy reach of the City and delightful vacationing may be had just over our municipal borders.
New York City and the North Jersey resorts are on direct highways from the Delaware Bridge Plaza in Camden and of course the highways of Eastern Pennsylvania connect with the Philadelphia end of the big span.
With its hundreds of trains, boats and buses leaving almost every minute of the day and its connection with the best of highways, Camden offers residents unlimited facilities for travel. These same facilities make it easy for the civic pull-back and the chronic grumbler (if such should happen along) to take a little trip to some other permanent destination.
W hen local transportation is considered, Camden is either so far behind the times or so far in advance, that we have the nickel trolley and bus fare. The gasoline and rail systems are coordinated with 50 trolley cars and 100 buses operating to and through every section of the City. One corporation provides this coordinated service and this is augmented by many individually owned bus routes.
The religious life of the community is well served with churches of all leading denominations. More than one hundred edifices are devoted to church activities and as a group the clergy displays active interest in affairs of the municipality.
Camden also has its Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Lions Club, Kiwanis Club, Exchange Club, A. B. C. Club and other civil organizations in addition to the various fraternal groups.
There are twenty-two communities in the United States bearing the name “Camden.” They are scattered over twenty-two states, but Camden, N. J., is the largest and a fine place in which to live and do business and progress and be happy.