Place:Camden, Camden, New Jersey, United States


NameCamden
Alt namesCoopers Ferrysource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS34000934
Spicerssource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS34000934
Stocktonsource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS34000934
TypeCity
Coordinates39.937°N 75.106°W
Located inCamden, New Jersey, United States
Contained Places
Cemetery
Evergreen Cemetery
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Camden is a city and the county seat of Camden County, New Jersey, United States. Camden is located directly across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 77,344.[1][2][3] Camden is the 12th most populous municipality in New Jersey. The city was incorporated on February 13, 1828.[4] Camden has been the county seat of Camden County since the county was formed on March 13, 1844. The city derives its name from Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden. Camden is made up of over twenty different neighborhoods.

Beginning in the early 1900s, Camden was a consistently prosperous industrial city, and remained so throughout the Great Depression and World War II. During the 1950s, Camden manufacturers began gradually closing their factories and moving out of the city. With the loss of manufacturing jobs came a sharp decline in population numbers. The growth of the interstate highway system also played a large role in "white flight." Sub urbanization also influenced the drop in population. Civil unrest and crime became common in Camden. In 1971, civil unrest reached its peak with riots breaking out in response to the death of Horacio Jimenez, a Puerto Rican motorist who was killed by two American police officers.

The Camden waterfront holds four tourist attractions, the USS New Jersey; the BB&T Pavilion; Campbell's Field; and the Adventure Aquarium. Campbell's Field had been home to the minor league baseball team, the Camden Riversharks but is currently scheduled to be torn down. The city is the home of Rutgers University–Camden, which was founded as the South Jersey Law School in 1926, and Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, which opened in 2012. Camden also houses both Cooper University Hospital and Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center. The "eds and meds" institutions account for roughly 45% of Camden's total employment.

There were 23 murders in Camden in 2017, the lowest in the city in three decades, part of an intense downfall in violent crime since 2012.

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Early history

In 1626, Fort Nassau was established by the Dutch West India Company in the area that is now known as Camden, New Jersey. Europeans settled along the Delaware River, attempting to control the local fur trade. Throughout the 17th century more Europeans arrived in the area, developing it and making improvements. After the restoration period the land was controlled by nobles who served under King Charles II. ln 1673, the land was sold off to a group of New Jersey Quakers. The growth of the colony was the result of Philadelphia, a Quaker colony directly across from Camden along the Delaware River. In the Ferry systems were established to facilitate trade between Fort Nassau and Philadelphia. The ferry system operated along the east side of the Delaware River. The ferry system built by William Royden was located along Cooper Street and was turned over to Daniel Cooper in 1695. The creation of the ferry system resulted in the creation of small settlements along the Delaware River which would eventually develop into Camden.


The initial structures and settlements that formed Camden were largely established by three families: The Coopers, The Kaighns, and the Mickels. The Cooper family had the greatest impact on the formation of Camden. In 1773, Jacob Cooper developed some of the land he had inherited through his family into a "townsite." It was Jacob Cooper who named Camden after Charles Pratt, the Earl of Camden.[5][6] The lands that these families owned would eventually be combined to create the future city.[7]


19th century

For over 150 years, Camden served as a secondary economic and transportation hub for the Philadelphia area. However, that status began to change in the early 19th century. Camden was incorporated as a city on February 13, 1828, from portions of Newton Township, while the area was still part of Gloucester County. The city derives its name from Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden.[5] One of the U.S.'s first railroads, the Camden and Amboy Railroad, was chartered in Camden in 1830. The Camden and Amboy Railroad allowed travelers to travel between New York City and Philadelphia via ferry terminals in South Amboy, New Jersey and Camden. The railroad terminated on the Camden waterfront, and passengers were ferried across the Delaware River to their final Philadelphia destination. The Camden and Amboy Railroad opened in 1834 and helped to spur an increase in population and commerce in Camden.


Horse ferries, or team boats, served Camden in the early 1800s. The ferries connected Camden and other Southern New Jersey towns to Philadelphia. Ferry systems allowed Camden to generate business and economic growth.[7] "These businesses included lumber dealers, manufacturers of wooden shingles, pork sausage manufacturers, candle factories, coachmaker shops that manufactured carriages and wagons, tanneries, blacksmiths and harness makers."[7] The Cooper's Ferry Daybook, 1819–1824, documenting Camden's Point Pleasant Teamboat, survives to this day. Originally a suburban town with ferry service to Philadelphia, Camden evolved into its own city. Until 1844, Camden was a part of Gloucester County.[4] In 1840 the city's population had reached 3,371 and Camden appealed to state legislature, which resulted in the creation of Camden County in 1844.[7]

The poet Walt Whitman spent his later years in Camden. He bought a house on Mickle Street in March 1884. Whitman spent the remainder of his life in Camden and died in 1892 of a stroke. Whitman was a prominent member of the Camden community at the end of the nineteenth century.

Camden quickly became an industrialized city in the later half of the nineteenth century. In 1860 Census takers recorded eighty factories in the city and the number of factories grew to 125 by 1870.[7] Camden began to industrialize in 1891 when Joseph Campbell incorporated his business Campbell's Soup. Through the Civil War era Camden gained a large immigrant population which formed the base of its industrial workforce.[8] Between 1870 and 1920 Camden's population grew by 96,000 people due to the large influx of immigrants.[7] Like other industrial cities, Camden prospered during strong periods of manufacturing demand and faced distress during periods of economic dislocation.


First half of the 20th century

At the turn of the 20th century Camden became an industrialized city. At the height of Camden's industrialization, 12,000 workers were employed at RCA Victor, while another 30,000 worked at New York Shipbuilding. RCA had 23 out of 25 of its factories inside Camden. Campbell Soup was also a major employer. In addition to major corporations, Camden also housed many small manufacturing companies as well as commercial offices.[8]

From 1899 to 1967, Camden was the home of New York Shipbuilding Corporation, which at its World War II peak was the largest and most productive shipyard in the world. Notable naval vessels built at New York Ship include the ill-fated cruiser USS Indianapolis and the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk. In 1962, the first commercial nuclear-powered ship, the NS Savannah, was launched in Camden. The Fairview Village section of Camden (initially Yorkship Village) is a planned European-style garden village that was built by the Federal government during World War I to house New York Shipbuilding Corporation workers.

From 1901 through 1929, Camden was headquarters of the Victor Talking Machine Company, and thereafter to its successor RCA Victor, the world's largest manufacturer of phonographs and phonograph records for the first two-thirds of the 20th century. Victor created some of the first commercial recording studios in the United States, where Enrico Caruso, Arturo Toscanini, John Philip Sousa, Woody Guthrie, Fats Waller & The Carter Family among many others, made famous recordings. General Electric reacquired RCA and the Camden factory in 1986.

In 1919 plans for the Delaware River Bridge were enacted as a means to reduce ferry traffic between Camden and Philadelphia. The bridge was estimated to cost $29 million, but the total cost at the end of the project was $37,103,765.42. New Jersey and Pennsylvania would each pay half of the final cost for the bridge. The bridge was opened at midnight on July 1, 1926. Thirty years later, in 1956 the bridge was renamed to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

During the 1930s Camden faced a decline in economic prosperity due to the Great Depression. By the mid-1930s the city had to pay its workers in scrip because they could not pay them in currency. Camden's industrial foundation kept the city from going bankrupt. Major corporations such as Campbell's Soup, New York Shipbuilding Corporation and RCA Victor employed close to 25,000 people through the depression years.[8] New companies were also being created during this time. On June 6, 1933, the city hosted the first drive-in movie theater.

Camden's ethnic demographic shifted dramatically at the beginning of the twentieth century. German, British, and Irish immigrants made up the majority of the city at the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century. By 1920 Italian and Eastern European immigrants had become the majority of the population.[7] African Americans had also been present in Camden since the 1830s. The migration of African Americans from the south increased during World War II. The different ethnic groups began to form segregated communities within the city and around religious organizations. Communities formed around figures such as Tony Mecca from the Italian neighborhood, Mario Rodriguez from the Puerto Rican neighborhood, and Ulysses Wiggins from the African American neighborhood.[8]

Second half of the 20th century

After close to 50 years of economic and industrial growth, the city of Camden experienced a period of economic stagnation and deindustrialization: after reaching a peak of 43,267 manufacturing jobs in 1950, there was an almost continuous decline to a new low of 10,200 manufacturing jobs in the city by 1982. With this industrial decline came a plummet in population: in 1950 there were 124,555 residents, compared to just 84,910 in 1980.[8] Alongside these declines, civil unrest and criminal activity rose in the city. From 1981 to 1990, mayor Randy Primas fought to renew the city economically. Ultimately Primas had not secured Camden's economic future as his successor, mayor Milton Milan, declared bankruptcy for the city in July 1999.

Civil unrest and crime

  • On September 6, 1949, mass murderer Howard Unruh went on a killing spree in his Camden neighborhood killing thirteen people. Unruh, who was convicted and subsequently confined to a state psychiatric facility, died on October 19, 2009.
  • A civilian and a police officer were killed in a September 1969 riot, which broke out in response to accusation of police brutality. Two years later, public disorder returned with widespread riots in August 1971, following the death of a Puerto Rican motorist at the hands of white police officers. When the officers were not charged, Hispanic residents took to the streets and called for the suspension of those involved. The officers were ultimately charged, but remained on the job and tensions soon flared. On the night of August 19, 1971, riots erupted, and sections of downtown were looted and torched over the next three days.[8] Fifteen major fires were set before order was restored, and ninety people were injured. City officials ended up suspending the officers responsible for the death of the motorist, but they were later acquitted by a jury.
  • The Camden 28 were a group of anti-Vietnam War activists who, in 1971, planned and executed a raid on the Camden draft board, resulting in a high-profile trial against the activists that was seen by many as a referendum on the Vietnam War in which 17 of the defendants were acquitted by a jury even though they admitted having participated in the break-in.
  • In 1996, Governor of New Jersey Christine Todd Whitman frisked Sherron Rolax, a 16-year-old African-American youth, an event which was captured in an infamous photograph. Rolax alleged his civil rights were violated and sued the state of New Jersey.

Revitalization efforts

In 1981, Randy Primas was elected mayor of Camden, but entered office "haunted by the overpowering legacy of financial disinvestment." Following his election, the state of New Jersey closed the $4.6 million deficit that Primas had inherited, but also decided that Primas should lose budgetary control until he began providing the state with monthly financial statements, among other requirements.[8] When he regained control, Primas had limited options regarding how to close the deficit, and so in an attempt to renew Camden, Primas campaigned for the city to adopt a prison and a trash-to-steam incinerator. While these two industries would provide some financial security for the city, the proposals did not go over well with residents, who overwhelmingly opposed both the prison and the incinerator.

While the proposed prison, which was to be located on the North Camden waterfront, would generate $3.4 million for Camden, Primas faced extreme disapproval from residents. Many believed that a prison in the neighborhood would negatively effect North Camden's "already precarious economic situation." Primas, however, was wholly concerned with the economic benefits: he told The New York Times, "The prison was a purely economic decision on my part."[8] Eventually, on August 12, 1985, the Riverfront State Prison opened its doors.

Camden residents also objected to the trash-to-steam incinerator, which was another proposed industry. Once again, Primas "...was motivated by fiscal more than social concerns," and he faced heavy opposition from Concerned Citizens of North Camden (CCNC) and from Michael Doyle, who was so opposed to the plant that he appeared on CBS's 60 Minutes, saying "Camden has the biggest concentration of people in all the county, and yet there is where they're going to send in this sewage... ...everytime you flush, you send to Camden, to Camden, to Camden."[8] Despite this opposition, which eventually culminated in protests, "the county proceeded to present the city of Camden with a check for $1 million in March 1989, in exchange for the of city-owned land where the new facility was to be built... ...The $112 million plant finally fired up for the first time in March 1991."[8]

Other notable events

Despite the declines in industry and population, other changes to the city took place during this period:

  • In 1950, Rutgers University absorbed the former College of South Jersey to create Rutgers University–Camden.[9]
  • In 1992, the state of New Jersey under the Florio administration made an agreement with GE to ensure that GE would not close the Camden site. The state of New Jersey would build a new high-tech facility on the site of the old Campbell Soup Company factory and trade these new buildings to GE for the existing old RCA Victor buildings. Later, the new high tech buildings would be sold to Martin Marietta. In 1994, Martin Marietta merged with Lockheed to become Lockheed Martin. In 1997, Lockheed Martin divested the Camden Plant as part of the birth of L-3 Communications.
  • In 1999, Camden was selected as the location for the . That ship remains in Camden.

21st century

Originally the city's main industry was manufacturing, and in recent years Camden has shifted its focus to eds and meds (education and medicine) in an attempt to revitalize itself. Of the top employers in Camden, many are education and/or healthcare providers: Cooper University Hospital, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Rowan University, Rutgers University-Camden, Camden County College, Virtua, Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, and CAMcare are all top employers. The eds and meds industry itself is the single largest source of jobs in the city: of the roughly 25,000 jobs in the city, 7,500 (30%) of them come from eds and meds institutions. The second largest source of jobs in Camden is the retail trade industry, which provides roughly 3,000 (12%) jobs. While already the largest employer in the city, the eds and meds industry in Camden is growing and is doing so despite falling population and total employment: From 2000 to 2014, population and total employment in Camden fell by 3% and 10% respectively, but eds and meds employment grew by 67%.[10]

Despite previous failures to transform the Camden Waterfront, in September 2015 Liberty Property Trust and Mayor Dana L. Redd announced a $830 million plan to rehabilitate the waterfront. The project, which is the biggest private investment in the city's history, aims to redevelop 26 acres of land south of the Ben Franklin Bridge and includes plans for 1.5 million square feet of commercial space, 211 residences, a 130-room hotel, more than 4,000 parking spaces, a downtown shuttle bus, a new ferry stop, a riverfront park, and two new roads. The project is a modification of a previous $1 billion proposal by Liberty Property Trust, which would have redeveloped 37.2 acres and would have included 500,000 square feet of commercial space, 1,600 homes, and a 140-room hotel. On March 11, 2016, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority approved the modified plans and officials like Timothy J. Lizura of the NJEDA expressed their enthusiasm: "It's definitely a new day in Camden. For 20 years, we've tried to redevelop that city, and we finally have the traction between a very competent mayor's office, the county police force, all the educational reforms going on, and now the corporate interest. It really is the right ingredient for changing a paradigm which has been a wreck."

In 2013 the New Jersey Economic Development Authority created the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act, which provides incentives for companies to relocate to or remain in economically struggling locations in the state. These incentives largely come in the form of tax breaks, which are payable over 10 years and are equivalent to a project's cost. According to The New York Times, "...the program has stimulated investment of about $1 billion and created or retained 7,600 jobs in Camden."[8][11] This NJEDA incentive package has been utilized by organizations and firms such as the Philadelphia 76ers, Subaru of America, Lockheed Martin, and Holtec International.[12]

  • In late 2014 the Philadelphia 76ers broke ground in Camden (across the street from the BB&T Pavilion) to construct a new 125,000-square-foot training complex. The Sixers Training Complex includes an office building and a 66,230-square-foot basketball facility with two regulation-size basketball courts, a 2,800-square-foot locker room, and a 7,000-square-foot roof deck. The $83 million complex had its grand opening on September 23, 2016, and is expected to provide 250 jobs for the city of Camden.
  • Also in late 2014, Subaru of America announced that in an effort to consolidate their operations, their new 250,000 square foot headquarters would be located in Camden. The $118 million project broke ground in December 2015 but was put on hold in mid-2016 because the original plans for the complex had sewage and waste water being pumped into an outdated sewage system. Adjustments to the plans have been made and the project is expected to be completed in 2017, creating up to 500 jobs in the city upon completion.[13]

Several smaller-scale projects and transitions also took place during the 21st century:

  • In preparation for the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, various strip clubs, hotels, and other businesses along Admiral Wilson Boulevard were torn down in 1999, and a park that once existed along the road was replenished.
  • In 2004, conversion of the RCA Nipper Building to The Victor, an upscale apartment building was completed. The same year, the River LINE, between the Entertainment Center at the Waterfront in Camden and the Transit Center in Trenton, was opened, with a stop directly across from The Victor.
  • In 2010, massive police corruption was exposed that resulted in the convictions of several policemen, dismissals of 185 criminal cases, and lawsuit settlements totaling $3.5 million that were paid to 88 victims. On May 1, 2013, the Camden Police Department was dissolved and the newly formed Camden County Police Department took over full responsibility for policing the city. This move was met with some disapproval from residents of both the city and county.

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