MAIN STREET is a diagonal street that runs southeast from the intersection of State Street and Point Street in North Camden. It first appears in the Camden City Directory in 1878, at that time beginning at the entrance of the Vine Street Ferry. Main Street is a very wide street, its width necessitated by the railroad tracks that ran from the waterfront, originally belonging to the Camden & Amboy Railroad. Prior to the construction of the Ben Franklin Bridge, these railroad tracks ran up Main Street, intersecting and crossing the railroad tracks that lead to the Pavonia Yard, and traveling on to the rail line to points south in New Jersey. These tracks now carries the PATCO High Speed Line. Main Street in the 1880s ran all the way to 11th Street. From the 1920s through the 1960s Main Street reached Penn Street between 7th Street and 8th Street in these days.
After the construction of the bridge and the establishment of the Bridge Plaza, Main Street terminated in the 600 block. The rail line continued to 7th Street, where a large coal yard operated for many years by the R. McAllister Company was located. By 1952 the tracks had been covered over at 7th and Linden Street. On 7th Street between Penn and Linden stood the triangular Bridge Plaza Parking Garage, which had housed the Edstan Ford automobile Dealership in the 1930s. The rear of this building faced Main Street south of Linden. Photographs indicate however, that due to railroad tracks that still existed as late the 1950s, that Main Street was closed to automobile traffic here. No buildings had addresses on Main Street east of 6th Street by 1947.
By the late 1970s the railroad tracks were long gone, as were the port facility and most of the industries in North Camden that they supported. Only a few houses, mostly in the 100 and 200 blocks remain.
Notable Main Street residents over the years included journalist Daniel P. “Dan” McConnell, and his father, also named Dan, Daniel D. McConnell, who was a noted boxer in South Jersey in the 1890s and early 1900s. The Oberman family ran a bar at 505 Main Street from the 1900s through the 1940s, a bar operated here as early as 1887 through the mid-1960s. One of the Oberman sons, Frank A. Oberman, had a long and distinguished career as a member of the Camden Fire Department, having reached the rank of Captain by the late 1940s. A hardware store operated at 132 Main Street for well over 50 years. 323 Main housed a stable as early as the 1880s, and when the automobile came to Camden, the building became a garage.
For many years at 201 Vine Street, the intersection of Vine, Second and Main Streets stood Daly’s Tavern, founded by John F. Daly and run by his family into the 1970s. The North Camden Theater, which is still standing, was next door at 203-205 Vine. The Mancine family ran a bar from the 1930s until it burned down in the 1970s on the southwest corner of North 3rd and Main streets. The family still has a liquor store on the same block, at North 3rd and Elm Street.
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Green line and denotes former location, approximately
MAIN STREET runs diagonally, southeast from the intersection of State Street and Point Street in North Camden.
4th Street Tunnel
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 a pedestrian tunnel, which is still in use.
Camden Cyclone of April 2, 1912
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.
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