Main Street is a diagonal street situated in North Camden, running southeast from the intersection of State Street and Point Street. Its historical presence can be traced back to the Camden City Directory in 1878, where it was listed as starting from the entrance of the Vine Street Ferry. Notably, Main Street is characterized by its considerable width, which was necessitated by the presence of railroad tracks belonging to the Camden & Amboy Railroad that originally extended from the waterfront. These railroad tracks crossed Main Street, continuing to the Pavonia Yard and onward to various locations in southern New Jersey. Today, these tracks are utilized for the PATCO High Speed Line.
In the 1880s, Main Street’s expanse reached all the way to 11th Street, but in the 1920s through the 1960s, it extended only as far as Penn Street between 7th and 8th Street. However, with the construction of the Ben Franklin Bridge and the establishment of the Bridge Plaza, Main Street’s termination point shifted to the 600 block. By 1952, the railroad tracks had been covered over at the intersection of 7th and Linden Street. As time passed, much of the industrial presence that once depended on these tracks in North Camden waned, leaving only a few remaining houses in the 100 and 200 blocks.
Throughout the years, Main Street has been home to notable individuals, including journalist Daniel P. “Dan” McConnell and his father, Daniel D. McConnell, a renowned boxer in South Jersey during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Oberman family managed a bar at 505 Main Street from the 1900s until the 1940s, with records indicating a bar at this location as early as 1887. Frank A. Oberman, one of the Oberman sons, achieved distinction as a member of the Camden Fire Department, rising to the rank of Captain by the late 1940s. Additionally, 132 Main Street held a hardware store for over 50 years. A stable was also established at 323 Main Street in the 1880s, which later transitioned into a garage with the advent of automobiles.
At the intersection of Vine, Second, and Main Streets, Daly’s Tavern, founded by John F. Daly, was a prominent establishment for many years and operated by his family until the 1970s. Adjacent to it, at 203-205 Vine Street, the North Camden Theater remains standing to this day. On the southwest corner of North 3rd and Main Streets, the Mancine family ran a bar from the 1930s until it was destroyed in a fire in the 1970s. The Mancine family maintains a liquor store on the same block at North 3rd and Elm Street.
Despite significant changes over time, Main Street in North Camden still retains fragments of its vibrant history and the diverse array of individuals and businesses that once populated the area.
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Green line and denotes former location, approximately
Reprinted from the series of stories of Camden’s earlier days, under the title Sixty Years in Camden County – Gosh! by Will Paul, appearing in The Community news, of Merchantville, NJ.
MAIN STREET runs diagonally, southeast from the intersection of State Street and Point Street in North Camden.
While you can drive a car under the Ben Franklin Bridge at street level from North 3rd Street east, at 4th Street there is a tunnel, closed in the early 1980s, that provided amusement for generations of local kids on bicycles, and aggravation for most adults responsible for public safety. At 5th Street there is…
Twenty-seven properties, some of which are landmarks of generations past, are to be acquired to make way for the proposed North Fourth Street underpass.
The city of Camden was hit by tornadoes, or as they were then called, cyclones, on two occasions, August 3, 1885 and April 2, 1912. The first storm destroyed the Tabernacle Baptist Church at North 3rd and Pearl Street, and caused damage to buildings at North 3rd and Main Streets and elsewhere.