The Camden National Bank

The Camden National Bank sketch

Camden Post – March 1, 1888

In New Quarters

The Camden National Bank which has been temporarily located at 250 Kaighn avenue, begins business to-day In the handsome new building fast completed, at the N.W. corner of Second and Kaighn avenue.

Through the courtesy of Cashier Martindale, a Post reporter was shown through the bank yesterday. The structure has a substantial and business-like appearance, being built of brick with brown stone trimmings. It fronts on the avenue and sets back a few feet front on the line of the street. On either side of the massive doors are large brass signs, plainly lettered. The interior of the building is fitted up and furnished in an elegant manner, every detail showing the traces of taste and skill. The wood work is in chestnut with brass trimmings, and the desks are of walnut. The front and side floors are handsomely tiled, and that behind the counters is covered with linoleum, which yield a pleasant and noiseless tread. Besides the spacious front apartment there is also a private office for the cashier, another for the president, and a communicating room for the use of the directors, all of which are carpeted with a bright and rich Axminster, of a superior quality. The ceilings are artistically decorated in new and elegant designs of paper, which gives a pleasing and cheerful effect. The cashier’s office is entered by a door, built under a heavy archway, which gives him a full view of the entire front. A feature of the room in which the directors will bold their meetings is a large fire place with mantel of carved chestnut set in glazed tiling. The safe or vault is the “Big thing” of the bank. It was built to order by the Marvin Co. and is strongly constructed in every particular, being as near burglar proof as a safe could possibly be made. Under the bottom of the vault is 14 feet of solid masonry capped with flag stones and cemented on the surface which forms the floor. The sides and top walls are are made of heavy steel rails bolted together and weighing altogether some 25 tons. The doors of the safe weigh over 2 tons and are closed tight by a concentric motion. A small bright pilot wheel on the outer door affords a leverage and shoots 20 bolts into place, the inner is a double door with a special locking device. On one side of the vault is a tier of private boxes, which separate keys or combination locks, which are to be rented at $5, $10 and $15 per year to individuals who want to secure absolute safety to papers or valuables. The entire building is heated by steam and lighted by gas. Electric appliance touches a spark to the burner and lights the gas, also sounds a warning at the approach of any one to the private rooms. A telegraph time clock, which will regulate and correct itself, will be placed on the wall.

The architect is Mr. Clement Remington, and Mayberry Harden is the builder, the structure reflecting credit upon both. The banking house cost about $27,500.

The establishment of the Camden National in its new quarters completes and interest bit of local history.

Banking facilities were long needed in that section of the city, many years ago the subject being agitated by the late Charles Kaighn and others, and was revived some twenty years ago. <<<illegible>>> an organization <<<illegible>>> When the Gloucster Savings bank opened a branch a few years ago, the need was temporarily supplied but upon the failure of that institution in 1884,business men were again compelled to travel as far north as Federal or Market streets to do their banking.

The growth of the southern portion of the city now demanded a permanent bank there and while the matter was being discussed by others, Isaac C. Martindale was the man to act. Like Horace Greely he thought “the way to resume was to resume.” Mr. Martindale had a valuable experience in the banking business, covering a period of 20 years, and fully appreciating the needs and prospects of such a project, succeeded in getting Zophar C. Howell, president ofthe Kaighn’s Ferry Co. and largely interested in Camden property, together with other responsible business men, to join in the movement. Enthusiasm in the scheme and confidence in its success <<<illegible>>> enough subscriptions to stock to warrant having a meeting called, and application was made to the controller of the currency May 30th, 1885, for authority to organize under the title of the “Camden National Bank,” with a capital stock of $100,000 and having the privilege of increasing to $200,000.

The first meeting was held at the office of the Kaighn’s Point Ferry Company, on June 13th, and one-fourth of the stock was subscribed and the balance was reported taken on July 6th.

The stockholders at meeting on July 20th showed rare judgement in the selection of their officers. The board of directors is composed of men of high business qualifications. Henry B. Wilson, a prosperous coal merchant of over thirty years standing, a <<illegible>> postmaster, an efficient assemblyman and valuable councilman and president of council John Cooper, a rare conservative, and always on the safe side of every business adventure; William B. Mulford, known to the people among whom he has lived for more than the average lifetime, is stirlingly honest and unknown to make a misake in business matters; Charles B. Coles, one of the best citizens, and successful business man; Harry B. Anthony, a prospering manufacturer; George W. Bailey, who <<illegible>> of all he attempts; Isaac C. Toone, head of one of the largest commercial houses in Camden; R. W. Birdswell, the capable secretary of the Camden Insurance Company; Charles E. Thomas, of the glass manufacturing firm of Bodine, Thomas & Co., of Williamstown; Phil H. Fowler, the efficient manager of the Gloucester CGingham Mills, employing 600 persons; D. Somers Risley, a wise and reliable insurance man; Herbert C. Felton, the capable builder up of a dilapidated ferry property; Zophar L. Howell, a chip off the old block; Howard M. Cooper, a safe and competent lawyer, with George T. Haines and James Davis, farmers of repute, whose industry with the plough, and skill in financial management, has made them wealthy, are the managers.

Zophar C. Howell was made president, John Cooper, vice president, Isaac C. Martindale, cashier and Howard M. Cooper, solicitor.

The bank opened for business on August 13th, at the building 259 Kaighn avenue, and the first report to the controller of the currency, six weeks later, showed aggregate assets of $219,018.55. Since then the business has rapidly and steadily increased in volume, as the following, taken from the report made two weeks ago shows: Capital stock, $100,000; profits, $23,764.67; circulation, $90,000 aggregate deposits, $419,278.25, making total assets of $623,042.92.

An excellent feature of the business is that the institution affords a place where working people and those of small means can place their savings and secure a reward for the use of it, as to meet this want the bank opened in March following its special line of accounts on which interest is allowed at the rate of 3 per cent., such accounts to be drawn only after two weeks notice, interest being credited every six months. For the convenience of the people of Gloucester City, a clerk goes down there every week to receive deposits.

The Camden National is a success. The portion of the city of which it occupies a central location is rapidly increasing in population; manufacturing establishments are going up in every direction, while the already extensive commerce carried on on Kaighn avenue will be quadrupled when the venue is opened over Cooper’s creek, and will be the busies thoroughfare in the city. Add to this the fortunate choice of officers, every one of unquestioned probity, and every one of them eminently successful in private business, a sure guarantee of fitness in the management of a public institution.

Zophar C. Howell, the president, is an extensive manufacturer of paper hangings, a business he has conducted for many years with uninterrupted success, who, taking hold of the Kaighn’s Point ferry, lifted it from bankruptcy to affluence, and who, with the wisdom begotten by the experience of near four-score years, is as clear headed and active as most men of half his age.

Cashier Martindale has the care of the institution, and is so well and favorably known in this city that a more extended notice of this gentleman is demanded both as a shrewd financier and able scientist. He was born in Byberry, Philadelphia county, in 1842, and resided there in early life. Mr. Martindale inherited a decided literary taste and early became connected with literary and scientific societies, contributing to newspapers, magazines, many of his scientific articles being copied and circulated at home and abroad. As a mineralogist and microscopist he holds high rank in scientific circles, but is more widely known for his knowledge of botany, to which he has largely directed his attention for thirty years. His herbarium is one of the largest in private hands, embracing specimens of nearly every plant found in New Jersey, and, indeed, in the United States and Europe with many from Asia and the Pacific island, and is resorted to by many of the most eminent scientists. He is a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, the Philosophical Society; the American Association for the advancement of Arts and Sciences, the Franklin Institute, and was (for a time president of the Camden Microscopal Society. His proficiency attained in scientific research in addition to the cares of business, is remarkable filtration of what may be accomplished by employing the moments which with too many are allowed to go to waste. In 1867 Mr. Martindale entered the National State Bank at Camden as a clerk, and in 1871 was elected cashier on the death of Jesse Townsend, also a native of Byberry. A few years of intense application to duty required rest, which he sought in a short trip to Europe, where he again resumed his position, which he filled for nearly fourteen years, and he is now devoting the ripened years of his broad experience to the interests of the Camden National Bank, an institution, the success of which has been largely due to his untiring zeal and efforts.


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