Frank S. Van Hart

Frank S. Van Hart - 1941-01-13

Frank S. Van Hart was born in 1875 in Pennsylvania but relocated to Camden during his youth. Renowned as an athlete from a young age, he gained widespread recognition as one of the finest second basemen in South Jersey. Playing for local teams like the Howards and the Camden Athletic Association, he shared the field with future major league stars such as William “Wid” Conroy and William “Kid” Gleason. Despite receiving numerous offers to join minor league professional teams, Van Hart opted to remain in his community, balancing his athletic pursuits with regular employment.

In addition to his prowess on the baseball diamond, Van Hart also played football for the Camden Athletic Association, competing alongside notable teammates like William and Samuel J.T. French, and the Bergen brothers, George and Martin. Many of his teammates went on to have successful legal careers, with William French ascending to a judgeship.

Transitioning from a position with a rope company in Philadelphia, Van Hart found employment in the office of the Esterbrook Pen Manufacturing Company in Camden. This role eventually led him to a sales position that required extensive travel throughout 29 states and Cuba. His dedication and competence culminated in his promotion to General Manager.

During the 1920 census, Van Hart resided with his wife Ida and son D. Spencer Van Hart at 851 Haddon Avenue, where he continued his managerial duties at the Esterbrook Pen Company. Subsequently, he became politically aligned with David Baird Sr. and assumed the role of acting mayor of Camden in 1922, succeeding Charles H. Ellis. Although he ran for mayor in 1923, he was defeated by Victor S. King. Notably, Van Hart was the final mayor to serve before the adoption of the commission system of government.

After his tenure as mayor, Van Hart returned to private business endeavors. By 1930, he had relocated to 910 Station Avenue in Haddon Heights, New Jersey, and later assumed the position of General Manager at the Camden Lime Company. Upon retiring in the fall of 1940, he moved to his summer residence in Pitman, New Jersey.

Tragically, Van Hart’s life was cut short by a sudden heart attack on January 11, 1941. He was laid to rest at Harleigh Cemetery in Camden, where he rests alongside his wife Ida.


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