SPAN OF A CENTURY, 1828-1928
100 YEARS IN THE HISTORY OF CAMDEN AS A CITY
Compiled from notes and data collected by Charles S. Boyer, President Camden County Historical Society. Published by Centennial Anniversary Committee of Camden, New Jersey. Additional Photos and Notes by Phillip Cohen in 2003.
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The Second Baptist Church was organized in 1848. The first edifice at Fourth and Division Streets was dedicated in November of 1852. This property was sold in 1867 to the Roman Catholic Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. The congregation erected a new building at Fifth and Mount Vernon Streets, and dedicated it on January 26, 1868. In 1894 the church disbanded and the Emanuel Baptist Church was organized and acquired title to the building formerly owned by the Second Church.
The Evergreen Cemetery Company was incorporated on February 23, 1848. The original plan was top locate the cemetery in Newton Township adjoining the Camden Cemetery. This was abandoned, and by an act passed on February 20, 1850, the corporation was permitted to purchase a tract of land belonging to Isaac Cooper on the Mount Ephraim Road. The first interment was made about August 1, 1950.
The Union Methodist Episcopal Church at Fifth and Mount Vernon Street (formerly called Chew Street) was organized as a Mission of the Third Street Methodist Episcopal Church. The edifice was dedicated on December 25, 1848. In 1850 it was declared a separate charge by the Conference under the title of Fifth Street Methodist Episcopal Church. It retained this title until 1859 when it took the corporate name of Union Methodist Episcopal Church. In May of 1883, a new church edifice was dedicated.
The Camden Gas Light Company was chartered on February 17, 1848. In 1852 a plot of ground at Second and Cherry Streets was purchased for $3200 and upon it was erected the first gas works in Camden. The plant was completed and the pipes laid to such an extent that by the night of December 25, 1852, the streets of the city were lighted for the first time by gas. The price of gas at the beginning was fixed at $3.50 per 1000 cubic feet. By 1864 the price was raised to $4.00 but from that time until 1928 it was gradually reduced.
The ground upon which the Camden County Court House once stood, which became Lit Brothers Department Store, and has been a Camden County office building for many years at Broadway and Federal Street was purchased from Abigail Cooper in 1848 at a cost of $500.00.
This location was selected because it was midway between Market and Federal Streets and therefore an equal distance from both the Market Street Ferry (Browning’s Ferry) and Federal Street Ferry (of which John W. Mickle was president). The contract for a building was awarded on August 2, 1852 to Daniel A., Hall for $26,800, upon condition that it be completed by July 1, 1853. Samuel Sloan was selected as architect. The building was of brick rough cast and was 50′ by 150′. Its cost including furnishings was $40,970.79. This building was demolished in 1904 to make way for a new court house, which stood into the 1950’s.
In 1875 there was built on the Market Street side of the court yard a one-story brick building, to which a second story was later added, for use by the County Clerk, Surrogate, and Register of Deeds. This was torn down in 1906. In 1885 the jail building on the Federal Street side of the court yard was completed after having been altered to a court house and then back to a jail. It was torn down in 1906.
The cornerstone of Morgan’s Hall, or as it was called until about 1867, Odd Fellows Hall, at the southeast corner of Fourth and Market Streets, was laid on October 5, 1848. The building was dedicated on November 8, 1849. It was originally a three-story structure sixty feet long and thirty six feet wide. The venture proving too great an undertaking for the lodges interested, it was sold about 1851 by the Sheriff to John Morgan for about $6,000 and re-named Morgan’s Hall, by which it was ever since known. In 1866 Morgan added sixty feet to the eastern end of the building and also a suite of rooms in the rear for a private residence. The entire building was covered with stucco in May of 1867.
Where this building stood was in 1810 a duck pond, and shingle shavings used to be thrown into it. From 1816 to 1840 the carpenter shop of Gideon Shivers was located there, and the neighborhood was known as Shingle Shaving Hill.
Under an act of the Legislature, approved on February 26, 1848 the City of Camden was given all the rights, powers, and property of the Township of Camden which was thereby extinguished and the act creating the latter was repealed. From the time of the passage of an act incorporating the City of Camden in 1828 until 1848 the city was under dual control, namely a municipal council and a township committee; and this was a source of much confusion and annoyance.