City of Camden is
the county seat of Camden
Jersey, in the United States. It is located across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
As of the United States 2000 Census
city had a total population of 79,904.
originally incorporated as a city on February 13, 1828, from
portions of the now-defunct Newton Township,
while the area was still part of Gloucester
On March 13, 1844, Camden became part of
the newly formed Camden County.
Three Camden mayors have been jailed for corruption, the most
recent being, Milton Milan
the school system and police department have been operated by
the State of New
Jersey, the takeover will expire in 2012.
Camden has the highest crime rate in the United States with 2,333 violent
crime's per 100,000 people while the national average is 455
Camden spends $17,000 per child for education
and only 2/3 of the students graduate. Two out of every five
residents are below the national poverty
Fort Nassau (located within the present
boundaries of nearby Gloucester City, New Jersey), was built by the Dutch West India Company in 1626,
and was the first European attempt to settle
the area now occupied by Camden. Initial European
activity in the vicinity of present day Camden occurred along the
banks of the Delaware River where the
Dutch and the
Swedish vied for control of the local fur trade.
Europeans continued to settle in and improve the area during the
seventeenth century. Much of the growth directly resulted from the
success of another Quaker colony across the
Delaware River known as Philadelphia, which was founded in 1682 and soon had enough
population to attract a brisk trade from West Jersey and Camden.
the trade across the river, a string of ferries began
For over 150 years, Camden served as a secondary economic and
transportation hub for the Philadelphia area. But that status began
to change in the early 1800s. One of the United States' first
railroads, the Camden and
, 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
Originally a suburban town with ferry
service to Philadelphia, Camden evolved into its own city, as industry and
Camden prospered during strong periods
of manufacturing demand and faced distress during periods of
Like most American cities, Camden suffered from decline in the 20th
Century as the manufacturing base and many residents moved out to
other locations. Currently, government, education, and health
care are the three biggest employers in Camden; however, most
employees commute to Camden and live in nearby suburbs such as
Revitalization has occurred along the
and in certain
neighborhoods with access to Philadelphia.
From 1901 through 1929, Camden was headquarters of the Victor Talking Machine
, and thereafter to its successor RCA Victor
, the world's largest manufacturer of
and phonograph records
for the first
two-thirds of the 20th century. RCA Victor contained one of the
first commercial recording studios in the United States, where
, among others, recorded.
The General Electric
reacquired RCA in 1986.
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
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
. 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
The Nipper Building
famous "Nipper Building" depicting RCA
"His Master's Voice" trademark in its tower windows has since been
renovated into a luxury apartment building called "The Victor."
Building 8 is set to be rehabilitated into luxury condominiums
called "Radio Lofts." Both projects are the work of Dranoff
Properties, a well known Philadelphia development corporation that
has specialized in these types of constructions. Another older
building, Victor Building No. 2, is used to this day to house the
Camden City Board of Education.
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
aircraft carrier USS Kitty
. In 1962, the first commercial nuclear-powered ship,
the NS Savannah
, was launched in Camden.
Fairview Village section of Camden (initially Yorkship
Village) was a planned European-style garden village built
by the Federal government during World War I to house New York
Shipbuilding Corporation workers.
At Camden's peak, 10,000 workers were employed at RCA, while
another 40,000 worked at New York Shipbuilding. RCA had 23 out of
25 of its factories inside Camden. Campbell Soup was also a major
employer. By 1969, Camden had been losing jobs and residents for a
quarter century due in large part to urban decay, highway
construction, and racial tensions .
In Jefferson Cowie's "Capital Moves", Cowie refers to Camden City
in the 1920s as the "Citadel of Republicanism". The decline of the
Republican Party in Camden City overlapped the decline of
on the Delaware River, with access to
Ocean, the Port of Camden handles breakbulk and bulk
The port consists of two terminals: the Beckett
Street Terminal and the Broadway Terminal (commonly known as the
Port of Camden). The port receives hundreds of ships moving
international and domestic cargo annually. 
In 2005, the Port of Camden (South Jersey Port Corporation) was
subject to an unresolved criminal investigation and a state
In December 2006, Governor Jon S.
speculated on moving port
operations further south to allow the community greater access to
Federal Courthouse in Camden
Camden has historically been a stronghold of the Democratic Party
turnout is very low; approximately 19% of Camden's voting age
population participated in the 2005 gubernatorial
Camden's City Hall opened in 1931.
Since July 1, 1961, the City has operated under a Mayor-Council
government. Under this form of government, the City Council
consisted of seven Council members originally all elected at-large.
In 1994, the City opted to modify the form of government to better
address the changing needs of the citizenry. To that end, the City
of Camden was divided into four councilman districts, instead of
electing the entire Council at-large. One Council member was
elected from each of the four districts. In 1995, the election was
changed from a partisan election to a non-partisan Municipal
Mayor Milton Milan
was jailed for his
connections to organized crime
June 15, 2001, he was sentenced to serve seven years in prison on
14 counts of corruption, including accepting mob payoffs and
concealing a $65,000 loan from a drug kingpin.
is the Mayor
of Camden. She is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal
, a bi-partisan
with a stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal
guns off the streets." The Coalition is co-chaired by Boston Mayor
Thomas Menino and New York City Mayor Michael
Members of the City Council include:
- Angel Fuentes - City Council President and Ward 4
- Dana Redd - Vice President and Council Member At Large
- Curtis Jenkins - Council Member At Large
- Michael McGuire - Ward 1
- Francisco "Frank" Moran - Ward 3
- Gilbert "Whip" Wilson - Council Member At Large
- Ali Sloan-El, Sr. - Ward 2 (resigned August 30, 2006).
Federal, state and county representation
Camden is in the First Congressional District and is part of New
Jersey's 5th Legislative District.
Map of Camden County Highlighting Camden
According to the United
States Census Bureau
, the city has a total area of ; of it is
land and of it is water. The total area is 15.03% water.
borders Collingswood, Gloucester City, Haddon Township, Pennsauken, and Woodlynne. Just offshore of Camden is Pettys Island, which is officially part of Pennsauken
contains the U.S.'s first federally funded planned community, Yorkship Village (now called Fairview).
The village was
designed by Electus Darwin
, who was influenced by the "garden city"
developments popular in
England at the time.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 79,904
people, 24,177 households, and 17,431 families residing in the
city. The population density
9,057.0 people per square mile (3,497.9/km²). There were 29,769
housing units at an average density of 3,374.3 units per square
The racial makeup of the city was 53.35% Black
or African American
, 16.84% White
, 2.45% Asian
, 0.54% Native American
, , 0.07%
22.83% from other races
. 3.92% of
residents were from two or more races. 38.82% of the population
of any race. 8.9% of the
population is foreign-born. 7.1% of the population were Whites of
There were 24,177 households out of which 42.2% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 26.1% were married couples
living together, 37.7% had a female
householder with no husband present, and 27.9% were non-families.
22.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had
someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 3.12 and the average family size was 3.62.
In the city the population is quite young with 34.6% under the age
of 18, 12.0% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 16.3% from 45 to
64, and 7.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was
27 years. For every 100 females there were 94.3 males. For every
100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.0 males.
The per capita income
for the city
was $9,815. 35.5% of the population and 32.8% of families were
below the poverty line
. 45.5% of those
under the age of 18 and 23.8% of those 65 and older were living
below the poverty line.
Based on 2006 data from the United States Census Bureau
of the city's residents live in poverty, the highest rate in the
nation. The city had a median household income of $18,007, the
lowest of all U.S. communities with populations of more than 65,000
residents, making it America's poorest city. A group of poor Camden
residents were the subject of a 20/20
special on poverty in America broadcast on January 26, 2007. In the
special, Diane Sawyer
lives of three young children growing up in Camden. A follow up was
shown on November 9, 2007.
In 2000, 28.85% of Camden residents identified themselves as being
of Puerto Rican
the third highest proportion of Puerto Ricans in a municipality on
the United States mainland, behind only Holyoke,
Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut, for all communities in which 1,000 or more people
listed an ancestry group.
New Jersey Transit's Walter Rand
Transportation Center is located at Martin Luther King Boulevard and
Broadway. Besides being a major hub for New Jersey Transit (NJT) buses and
Greyhound Lines, the Walter Rand
Transportation Center is also a PATCO high-speed line and the
recently-opened River LINE light rail
PATCO Speedline offers frequent
train service to Philadelphia and the suburbs to the east in
County, with stations at City
Hall, Broadway (Walter Rand Transportation Center) and
opening in 2004, NJT's River LINE has offered frequent light rail
service to towns along the Delaware north of Camden, and terminates
in Trenton. Camden stations are 36th
Street, Walter Rand Transportation Center, Cooper Street-Rutgers
University, Aquarium and Entertainment Center.
service is available to Philadelphia on the 313, 315, 317,
and 318 and various 400
series lines, to Atlantic City is served by the 551
Local service is offered on the 450, 451, 452,
453, and 457
and Route 30
runs through Camden to
the Benjamin Franklin
on the north side of the city.
One of the most popular attractions of Camden is the city's
waterfront, along the Delaware River
waterfront is highlighted by its four main attractions, the
Jersey; the Susquehanna Bank Center; Campbell's Field; and the Adventure Aquarium.
The Adventure Aquarium was originally opened in 1992 as the New
Jersey State Aquarium at Camden. In 2005 after extensive renovation
the aquarium was reopened under the name Adventure Aquarium. The
aquarium was one of the original centerpieces in Camden's plans for
revitalizing their city.
The recently renamed Susquehanna Bank Center (formerly known as the
Tweeter Center) is a 25,000-seat open-air concert amphitheater that
was opened in 1995.
Campbell's Field, opened in 2001, is home
the Camden Riversharks Minor League Baseball team, of the
Atlantic League; and the Rutgers-Camden baseball team.
Jersey was a United States
Navy battleship that was intermittently active between the
years 1943 and 1991.
After its retirement the ship was
turned into a museum along the waterfront that opened in 2001. The
New Jersey saw action in World War II
the Korean War
, and the Vietnam War
attractions at the Waterfront are the Wiggins Park Riverstage and
Marina, One Port Center, The Victor Lofts, the Walt Whitman
House, the Walt Whitman Cultural Arts
Center, the Rutgers-Camden Center For The Arts and the Camden
The Waterfront is also served by two modes of public
transportation. New Jersey
Transit serves the Waterfront on its River
Line, while people from Philadelphia can commute using
the RiverLink Ferry, which connects
the Waterfront with Old City Philadelphia.
Urban Enterprise Zone
Portions of Camden are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone
. In addition to
other benefits to encourage employment within the Zone, shoppers
can take advantage of a reduced 3½% sales
rate (versus the 7% rate charged statewide).
Camden suffers from unemployment,
urban decay, poverty, and many other urban issues.
Camden had been passed over for redevelopment for many decades. The
dawn of the 21st Century has brought new redevelopment plans.
Campbell Soup Company
decided to go forward with a scaled down redevelopment of the area
around its corporate headquarters in Camden, including an expanded
corporate headquarters. The nearby Sears building was bought by a
local developer, with plans for loft-style housing and commercial
had a grand plan to redevelop north Camden
with 5,000 new homes and a shopping center on 450 acres. Cherokee
dropped their plans in the face of local opposition and the
slumping real estate market.
Camden's public schools are operated by Camden City Public Schools
district is one of 31 Abbott
Holy Name School, Sacred Heart Grade School, San Miguel
, St. Anthony of Padua School, St. Joseph
are elementary schools that operate under
the auspices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of
The University District, adjacent to the downtown, is home to the
also home to Cooper University Hospital, which is nationally recognized as a leader in the
area of trauma.
statistics reported to the Federal
Bureau of Investigation, Camden was the third-most dangerous city in the
United States during 2002, and has been ranked the nation's most
dangerous city in 2004 and 2005.
"Most dangerous city" is
based on crime statistics in six categories: murder, rape, robbery,
aggravated assault, burglary, and auto theft.
City Councilman Ali Sloan-El, responding to 2004 news about the
2003 statistics, cites Camden's poverty as an important
contributing factor to its high crime rate. The demographic data
from the Census indicates
about a third of the city's residents live below the poverty line
However, in 2005, homicides in Camden dropped sharply, to 34 —
fifteen fewer murders than were reported in 2004. Though Camden's
murder rate is still much higher than the national average, the
reduction in 2005 was a drop of over thirty percent. Then in 2006,
the numbers of murders climbed to 40. Murder rates are generally
not static and change from year to year especially in smaller
Morgan Quitno Corporation
Camden in the top ten most dangerous cities in America since 1998,
when they first included cities with populations below 100,000. It
was ranked the most dangerous overall in 2004 and 2005. It dropped
down to the fifth spot for the 2006 and 2007 rankings but rose to
number two in 2008 and to the top spot in 2009 .
Riverfront State Prison
Riverfront State Prison
which opened in August 1985, is located near downtown Camden on the
north side of the Benjamin
. It held 1,009 inmates in 2006. On June 18,
2009, the last prisoners were transferred to other locations and
the prison was closed. The site is expected to be redeveloped,
possibly for residential and recreational use.
- Richard Hollingshead, inventor of the drive in theater was a
resident of Camden.
- On September 6, 1949, mass murderer
Howard Unruh went on a killing spree in his Camden neighborhood in
which he killed thirteen people. Unruh, who was convicted and
subsequently confined to a state psychiatric facility, died October
- Racial riots occurred when a Puerto Rican motorist was beaten
by city police and died in August 1971. Sections of downtown were
looted and torched.
- The Camden 28 were a group of
"Catholic left" anti-Vietnam War activists who in 1971 planned and
executed a raid on a Camden draft board. The raid resulted in a
high-profile trial against the activists that was seen by many as a
referendum on the Vietnam War.
- In the 1990s sitcom A Different World, the
character Jaleesa Vinson (played by Dawnn
Lewis) is from Camden, New Jersey.
- In 1996, Governor of New
Jersey Christine Todd
Whitman frisked Sherron Rolax in
Camden, which many alleged violated Rolax's civil rights.
- The initial shoot-out in the fourth "Die
Hard" movie, Live Free or
Die Hard, takes place in Camden.
- The Courier-Post is formerly based
Points of interest
Some noted current and former residents:
- William J. Browning (1850-1920), represented
New Jersey's 1st
congressional district from 1911-1920.
- Donovin Darius (1975-), played in
the NFL for the Jacksonville
- Rachel Dawson (1985-), field hockey midfielder.
- George Hegamin (1973-), former
offensive lineman in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- Francis F. Patterson, Jr. (1867-1935),
Jersey's 1st congressional district in the United States House of
Representatives from 1920 to 1927.
- Mike Rozier (1961-), Heisman Trophy winner
- John F. Starr (1818-1904),
Jersey's 1st congressional district from 1863 to 1867.
- Nick Virgilio, Haiku poet
- Walt Whitman