Cooper Street

Cooper Street, East of Fourth, Camden, NJ from a postcard.

Cooper Street, named after the prominent Cooper family, holds a significant place in Camden’s history as one of its oldest streets. William Cooper, an early settler in the region, played a crucial role in the area, and for many years, Camden was referred to as Cooper’s Ferries until its incorporation as a city in 1828.

In 1881, notable changes took place along Cooper Street. The curb line from Front Street to the Camden & Atlantic Railroad Company tracks was shifted twelve feet inward, and the street was paved with Belgian blocks. Another transformation occurred in 1927 when the curb lines were moved back twelve feet between 4th Street and 9th Street. This particular enhancement project was completed in September of that year.

Originally extending from the waterfront to 12th Street, Cooper Street now stretches from the waterfront to 9th Street, with a small section of homes and businesses remaining beyond 11th Street. It used to be an esteemed address in Camden, boasting numerous historically significant homes designed by renowned architects and inhabited by notable residents.

However, the fate of Cooper Street took a turn in the early 1920s when three grand mansions were demolished to make way for the Walt Whitman Hotel. On June 30, 1940, further devastation struck when an explosion and fire engulfed the entire block, resulting in the destruction of all the homes on the south side of the 900 block. This block was predominantly occupied by the R.M. Hollingshead chemical factory, situated along 9th and Market Streets, contributing to the tragic event.

In addition to its more well-known counterpart, there exists another section of Cooper Street in East Camden, which is lesser-known. This particular stretch of Cooper Street spans from North 19th Street to East State Street. Unlike the prominent Cooper Street, this segment is considerably shorter and predominantly consists of a single-family home and a block of 13 row homes.


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