Seward Street is a relatively obscure yet intriguing part of Camden’s urban landscape. It belongs to a category of “forgotten streets” within the city. However, it stands apart from most of these forgotten thoroughfares because it still physically exists on the map, albeit with some unique characteristics and a lack of recognition.
The origins of Seward Street’s name tie back to the esteemed figure of William H. Seward. He held the prestigious position of Secretary of State in the United States government for an extended period, serving from 1861 to 1869. During his tenure, he was instrumental in shaping American foreign policy and played a pivotal role during the turbulent years of the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction, including the purchase of Alaska.
Seward Street itself is a relatively short one-block stretch, extending from 451 Trenton Avenue to 455 Haddon Avenue. It likely came into existence during the late 19th century, with its completion probably occurring between late 1887 and early 1888. This assumption is based on historical records, as 451 Trenton Avenue first appeared in the Camden City Directories in the 1888-1889 edition, suggesting that Seward Street was already established as part of the city’s infrastructure during that time.
However, in a peculiar turn of events, Seward Street has been subject to alterations over the years. Sometime after 1980, it seems that the owners of properties at 451 Trenton Avenue, 453 Trenton Avenue, 455 Haddon Avenue, or 457 Haddon Avenue decided to install a fence that obstructed the once-free passage along Seward Street. As a result, access between Trenton and Haddon, which the street once provided, was disrupted.
In addition to this fencing, it’s worth noting that Seward Street lacks any official street signs to identify its presence. Consequently, it remains an unassuming and relatively unknown thoroughfare in Camden, quietly preserving a fragment of the city’s history that is waiting to be rediscovered and explored.