Frank J. Hartmann, Jr.

Frank J Hartmann Jr - 1936-08-01

Frank J. Hartmann Jr. was born into the Hartmann family on November 3, 1898, in Camden, New Jersey, to parents Frank J. Hartmann Sr. and Anna. The family’s roots in the city extended to the early 20th century when they initially settled in Cramer Hill on Cleveland Avenue near Griffee Avenue. Before the turn of the century, they moved to 740 State Street in North Camden, where Frank J. Hartmann Sr. established a prosperous cigar business that became a well-known local enterprise.

Following in the family’s tradition of skilled trades, Frank J. Hartmann Jr. pursued a career as an electrician. His involvement in civic affairs became evident when he entered the political arena and contested the May 1935 election. Despite facing certification challenges, Hartmann Jr. ultimately secured a position on the City Commission, officially taking office on August 1, 1935. His appointment as the Director of Public Works marked the beginning of his active role in shaping the city’s infrastructure.

Initially aligned with Mayor George Brunner and the New Deal Democrat organization, Hartmann Jr. later distanced himself from Brunner, a move that played a role in his unsuccessful reelection bid in 1939. His tenure as Commissioner was characterized by stringent fiscal policies, aimed at controlling expenditures and reducing spending within the Department of Public Works. While these measures were fiscally responsible, they led to the dismissal of politically connected workers and strained relationships with certain powerful business interests.

A significant aspect of Hartmann Jr.’s advocacy was his push for Camden to establish its municipal electrical plant. Despite receiving voter support for the project, it did not come to fruition during his term. Additionally, he played a pivotal role in the beautification of Roosevelt Plaza in front of City Hall. Overseeing the project, Hartmann Jr. hired Daniel G. Deacon for landscaping duties, with support from the Works Progress Administration.

After concluding his term in the City Commission, Frank J. Hartmann Jr. returned to private business. The family faced a heartbreaking tragedy when his son, Frank J. Hartmann III, lost his life in action while serving with the Army in France on July 18, 1944. In the 1950s, Hartmann Jr. relocated from Camden to Haddon Heights. Later in life, he spent his remaining years in Cape May, New Jersey, where he passed away in June 1987.

A committed member of Mozart Lodge No. 121, Free and Accepted Masons, Frank J. Hartmann Jr. served as the Master for a one-year term in 1933, demonstrating his dedication to both civic duties and fraternal organizations.


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