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Camden, New Jersey
City
City of Camden
From top to bottom, left to right: Camden skyline, Camden waterfront, Riversharks game at Campbell's Field, Walt Whitman House, Camden Federal Courthouse
Flag of Camden, New Jersey
Flag
Official seal of Camden, New Jersey
Seal
Motto(s): 
In a Dream, I Saw a City Invincible
Location within Camden County
Location within Camden County
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Coordinates: 39°56′24″N 75°06′18″W / 39.94°N 75.105°W / 39.94; -75.105Coordinates: 39°56′24″N 75°06′18″W / 39.94°N 75.105°W / 39.94; -75.105
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Camden
Settled 1626
Incorporated February 13, 1828
Named for Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden
Government
 • Type Faulkner Act (mayor–council)
 • Body City Council
Area
 • Total 10.34 sq mi (26.78 km2)
 • Land 8.92 sq mi (23.10 km2)
 • Water 1.42 sq mi (3.68 km2)  13.75%
Area rank 208th of 565 in state
7th of 37 in county
Elevation
16 ft (5 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 77,344
 • Estimate 
(2019)
73,562
 • Rank 487th in country (as of 2019)
12th of 565 in state
1st of 37 in county
 • Density 8,248.71/sq mi (3,184.68/km2)
 • Density rank 42nd of 565 in state
2nd of 37 in county
Time zone UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP Codes
08100-08105
Area code(s) 856
FIPS code 3400710000
GNIS feature ID 0885177

Camden is a city in and the county seat of Camden County, New Jersey. 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. Camden is the 12th most populous municipality in New Jersey. The Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program calculated that the city's population was 73,562 in 2019, ranking the city the 487th-most-populous in the country. The city was incorporated on February 13, 1828. 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 20 different neighborhoods.

Beginning in the early 1900s, Camden was a 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 population decline. The growth of the interstate highway system also played a large role in suburbanization, which resulted in white flight. 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 police officers.

The Camden waterfront holds three tourist attractions, the USS New Jersey; the BB&T Pavilion; and the Adventure Aquarium. 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 Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center. The "eds and meds" institutions account for roughly 45% of Camden's total employment.

Camden has been known for its high crime rate, though there has been a substantial decrease in crime in recent decades, especially since 2012, when the city disbanded its municipal police department and replaced it with a county-level police department. There were 23 homicides in Camden in 2017, the fewest in the city in three decades. The city saw 24 and 23 homicides in 2019 and 2020 respectively, the fourth-highest toll among New Jersey cities, behind Paterson, Trenton, and Newark. As of January 2021, violent crime was down 46% from its high in the 1990s and at the lowest level since the 1960s. Overall crime reports in 2020 were down 74% compared to 1974, the first year of uniform crime-reporting in the city; however, the population is also considerably lower today compared to that decade.

History

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 Kind 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.

HABS-NJ,4-CAM,4-1-edit
Pomona Hall, built in 1726.

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 gave this town the name Camden after Charles Pratt, the Earl of Camden. The lands that these families owned would eventually be combined to create the future city.

BenjaminCooperHouseCamdenHABS1936f
Benjamin Cooper House, built in 1734.

19th century

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 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.[26][27] 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.

Walt Whitman House, Camden, New Jersey
Walt Whitman House, Camden, New Jersey

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. "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." 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. 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.

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. 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. Between 1870 and 1920 Camden's population grew by 96,000 people due to the large influx of immigrants. Like other industrial towns, Camden prospered during strong periods of manufacturing demand and faced distress during periods of economic dislocation.

Informal Remarks Ar City Hall, Camden, NJ - NARA - 198079
Remarks from FDR 1944 Camden visit

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, 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 housed many small manufacturing companies as well as commercial offices.

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 & The Carter Family among others, recorded. 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. New companies were also being created during this time. On June 6, 1933, the city hosted the first drive-in movie.

Camden's ethnic demographic changed drastically 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. 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 formed 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.

Second half of the 20th century

After close to 50 years of economic and industrial growth, the city of Camden faced 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. 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 Miltan Milan, declared bankruptcy for the city in July 1999.

Attempts at renewal

In 1981, Randy Primas was elected mayor of Camden, but was unfortunately "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. 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 two different nuisance industries: a prison and a trash-to-steam incinerator. While these two industries would provide some financial security for the city, the proposals for them 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." Eventually, on August 12, 1985, the Riverfront State Prison opened its doors, despite the objections of residents.

The trash-to-steam incinerator was another proposed industry, also objected to by Camden residents. 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". 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 eighteen acres 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".

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.
  • 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 USS New Jersey (BB-62). That ship remains in Camden.
  • In 2014, Subaru announced it would relocate its North American headquarters to a new facility in Camden.
  • In 2016, the Philadelphia 76ers opened a new practice facility in Camden.

21st century

Originally a city the industry of which focused mainly on manufacturing, 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%.

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". This NJEDA incentive package has been utilized by organizations and firms such as the Philadelphia 76ers, Subaru of America, Lockheed Martin, and Holtec International.

  • 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.

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

  • In response to the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, various 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.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 10.341 square miles (26.784 km2), including 8.921 square miles (23.106 km2) of land and 1.420 square miles (3.677 km2) of water (13.73%).

Camden borders Collingswood, Gloucester City, Haddon Township, Pennsauken Township and Woodlynne in Camden County, as well as Philadelphia across the Delaware River in Pennsylvania. Just offshore of Camden is Pettys Island, which is part of Pennsauken Township. The Cooper River (popular for boating) flows through Camden, and Newton Creek forms Camden's southern boundary with Gloucester City.

Camden contains the United States' first federally funded planned community for working class residents, Yorkship Village (now called Fairview). The village was designed by Electus Darwin Litchfield, who was influenced by the "garden city" developments popular in England at the time.

Neighborhoods

Camden has more than 20 generally recognized neighborhoods:

  • Ablett Village
  • Bergen Square
  • Beideman
  • Broadway
  • Centerville
  • Center City/Downtown Camden/Central Business District
  • Central Waterfront
  • Cooper
  • Cooper Grant
  • Cooper Point
  • Cramer Hill
  • Dudley
  • East Camden
  • Fairview
  • Gateway
  • Kaighn Point
  • Lanning Square
  • Liberty Park
  • Marlton
  • Morgan Village
  • North Camden
  • Parkside
  • Pavonia
  • Pyne Point
  • Rosedale
  • South Camden
  • Stockton
  • Waterfront South
  • Whitman Park
  • Yorkship

Port

On the Delaware River, with access to the Atlantic Ocean, the Port of Camden handles break bulk and bulk cargo. The port consists of two terminals: the Beckett Street Terminal and the Broadway Terminal. 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 audit. Some activities in the port are under the jurisdiction of the Delaware River Port Authority.

Climate

Camden has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa in the Koeppen climate classification).

Climate data for Camden, New Jersey
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 41
(5)
45
(7.2)
54
(12.2)
65
(18.3)
74
(23.3)
82
(27.8)
87
(30.6)
85
(29.4)
78
(25.6)
67
(19.4)
57
(13.9)
46
(7.8)
65.083
(18.3794)
Average low °F (°C) 24
(-4.4)
26
(-3.3)
33
(0.6)
42
(5.6)
52
(11.1)
61
(16.1)
67
(19.4)
65
(18.3)
58
(14.4)
46
(7.8)
38
(3.3)
29
(-1.7)
45.083
(7.2683)
Source: <Weather.com >

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 3,371
1850 9,479 181.2%
1860 14,358 51.5%
1870 20,045 39.6%
1880 41,659 107.8%
1890 58,313 40.0%
1900 75,935 30.2%
1910 94,538 24.5%
1920 116,309 23.0%
1930 118,700 2.1%
1940 117,536 −1.0%
1950 124,555 6.0%
1960 117,159 −5.9%
1970 102,551 −12.5%
1980 84,910 −17.2%
1990 87,492 3.0%
2000 79,318 −9.3%
2010 77,344 −2.5%
2020 71,791 −7.2%
Population sources: 1840–2000
1840–1920 1840 1850–1870
1850 1870 1880–1890
1890–1910 1840–1930
1930–1990 2000 2010
Demographic profile 1950 1970 1990 2010
White 85.9% 59.8% 19.0% 17.6%
 —Non-Hispanic N/A 52.9% 14.4% 4.9%
Black or African American 14.0% 39.1% 56.4% 48.1%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) N/A 7.6% 31.2% 47.0%
Asian 0.2% 1.3% 2.1%

As of 2006, 52% of the city's residents lived in poverty, one of the highest rates 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. A group of poor Camden residents were the subject of a 20/20 special on poverty in America broadcast on January 26, 2007, in which Diane Sawyer profiled the lives of three young children growing up in Camden. A follow-up was shown on November 9, 2007.

In 2011, Camden's unemployment rate was 19.6%, compared with 10.6% in Camden County as a whole. As of 2009, the unemployment rate in Camden was 19.2%, compared to the 10% overall unemployment rate for Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties and a rate of 8.4% in Philadelphia and the four surrounding counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

2010 Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 77,344 people, 24,475 households, and 16,912 families residing in the city. The population density was 8,669.6 per square mile (3,347.4/km2). There were 28,358 housing units at an average density of 3,178.7 per square mile (1,227.3/km2)*. The racial makeup of the city was 17.59% (13,602) White, 48.07% (37,180) Black or African American, 0.76% (588) Native American, 2.12% (1,637) Asian, 0.06% (48) Pacific Islander, 27.57% (21,323) from other races, and 3.83% (2,966) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 47.04% (36,379) of the population. The Hispanic population of 36,379 was the tenth-highest of any municipality in New Jersey and the proportion of 47.0% was the state's 16th-highest percentage. The Puerto Rican population was 30.7%.

There were 24,475 households out of which 37.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 22.3% were married couples living together, 37.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.9% were non-families. 24.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.02 and the average family size was 3.56.

In the city, the population was spread out with 31.0% under the age of 18, 13.1% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 7.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28.5 years. For every 100 females there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 91.0 males.

The city of Camden was 47% Hispanic of any race, 44% non-Hispanic black, 6% non-Hispanic white, and 3% other. Camden is predominately populated by African Americans and Puerto Ricans.

The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $27,027 (with a margin of error of +/- $912) and the median family income was $29,118 (+/- $1,296). Males had a median income of $27,987 (+/- $1,840) versus $26,624 (+/- $1,155) for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,807 (+/- $429). About 33.5% of families and 36.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 50.3% of those under age 18 and 26.2% of those age 65 or over.

Religion

Camden has religious institutions including many churches and their associated non-profit organizations and community centers such as the Little Rock Baptist Church in the Parkside section of Camden, First Nazarene Baptist Church, Kaighn Avenue Baptist Church, and the Parkside United Methodist Church. Other congregations that are active now are Newton Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, on Haddon Avenue and Cooper Street and the Masjid at 1231 Mechanic St, Camden, NJ 08104 .

The first Scientology church was incorporated in December 1953 in Camden by L. Ron Hubbard, his wife Mary Sue Hubbard, and John Galusha.

Father Michael Doyle, the pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church located in South Camden, has played a large role in Camden's spiritual and social history. In 1971, Doyle was part of the Camden 28, a group of anti-Vietnam War activists who planned to raid a draft board office in the city. This is noted by many as the start of Doyle's activities as a radical 'Catholic Left'. Following these activities, Monsignor Doyle went on to become the pastor of Sacred Heart Church, remaining known for his poetry and activism. Monsignor Doyle and the Sacred Heart Church's main mission is to form a connection between the primarily white suburban surrounding areas and the inner-city of Camden.

In 1982, Father Mark Aita of Holy Name of Camden founded the St. Luke's Catholic Medical Services. Aita, a medical doctor and a member of the Society of Jesus, created the first medical system in Camden that did not use rotating primary care physicians. Since its conception, St. Luke's has grown to include Patient Education Classes as well as home medical services, aiding over seven thousand Camden residents.

Culture

Camden's role as an industrial city gave rise to distinct neighborhoods and cultural groups that have effected the growth and decline of the city over the course of the 20th century. Camden is also home to historic landmarks detailing its rich history in literature, music, social work, and industry such as the Walt Whitman House,[183] the Walt Whitman Cultural Arts Center, the Rutgers–Camden Center For The Arts and the Camden Children's Garden.

Camden's cultural history has been greatly affected by both its economic and social position over the years. From 1950 to 1970 industry plummeted, losing close to 20,000 jobs for Camden residents. This mass unemployment as well as social pressure from neighboring townships caused an exodus of citizens, mostly white. This gap was filled by new African American and Latino citizens and led to a restructuring of Camden's communities. The mass number of White citizen who left to neighboring towns such as Collingswood or Cherry Hill, leaving both new and old African American and Latino citizens to begin to rebuild their community. To help this rebuilding process, numerous non-for-profit organizations such as Hopeworks or the Neighborhood Center have been formed to facilitate Camden's movement into the 21st century.

Coopergrant
A community sign near Camden's Cooper Grant neighborhood showcasing the cities official tagline "A City Invincible"

Due to its location as county seat, as well as its proximity to Philadelphia, Camden has had strong connections with its neighboring cities.

On July 17, 1951, they formed the Delaware River Port Authority, a bi-state agency created to develop ease of transportation between the two cities.

In June 2014, the Philadelphia 76ers announced that they would move their practice facility and home offices to the Camden Waterfront, adding 250 permanent jobs in the city creating what CEO Scott O'Neil described as "biggest and best training facility in the country" using $82 million in tax savings offered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

The Battleship New Jersey, a museum ship located on the Delaware Waterfront, was a contested topic for the two cities. Philadelphia's DRPA funded millions of dollars into the museum ship project as well as the rest of the Waterfront, but the ship was originally donated to a Camden-based agency called the Home Port Alliance. They argue that Battleship New Jersey is necessary for Camden's economic growth. As of October 2001, the Home Port Alliance has maintained ownership of Battleship New Jersey.

African American Culture

In 1967, Charles 'Poppy' Sharp founded the Black Believers of Knowledge, an organization founded on the betterment of African America citizens in South Camden. He would soon rename his organization to the Black People's Unity Movement (BPUM). The BPUM was one of the first major cultural organizations to arise after the deindustrialization of Camden's industrial life. Going against the building turmoil in the city, Sharp founded BPUM on "the belief that all the people in our community should contribute to positive change".

In 2001, Camden residents and entrepreneurs founded the South Jersey Caribbean Cultural and Development Organization (SJCCDO) as a non-profit organization aimed at promoting understanding and awareness of Caribbean Culture in South Jersey and Camden. The most prominent of the events that the SJCCDO organizes is the South Jersey Caribbean Festival, an event that is held for both cultural and economical reasons. The festival's primary focus is cultural awareness of all of Camden's residents. The festival also showcases free art and music as well as financial information and free promotion for Camden artists.

In 1986, Tawanda 'Wawa' Jones began the Camden Sophisticated Sisters, a youth drill team. CSS serves as a self-proclaimed 'positive outlet' for the Camden' students, offering both dance lessons as well as community service hours and social work opportunities. Since it's conception CSS has grown to include two other organizations, all ran through Jones: Camden Distinguished Brothers and The Almighty Percussion Sound drum line. In 2013, CSS was featured on ABC's Dancing with the Stars.

Hispanic and Latino Culture

On December 31, 1987, the Latin American Economic Development Association (LAEDA). LAEDA is a non-profit economic development organization that helps with the creation of small business for minorities in Camden. LAEDA was founded under in an attempt to revitalize Camden's economy and provide job experience for its residents. LAEDA operates on a two major methods of rebuilding, The Entrepreneurial Development Training Program (EDTP) and the Neighborhood Commercial Expansion Initiative (NCEI). In 1990, LAEDA began a program called The Entrepreneurial Development Training Program (EDTP) which would offer residents employment and job opportunities through ownership of small businesses. The program over time created 506 businesses and 1,169 jobs. As of 2016, half of these businesses are still in operation. Neighborhood Commercial Expansion Initiative (NCEI) then finds locations for these business to operate in, purchasing and refurbishing abandoned real estate. As of 2016 four buildings have been refurbished including the First Camden National Bank & Trust Company Building.

One of the longest standing traditions in Camden's Hispanic community is the San Juan Bautista Parade, a celebration of St. John the Baptist, conducted annually starting in 1957. The parade began in 1957 when a group of parishioners from Our Lady of Mount Carmel marched with the church founder Father Leonardo Carrieri. This march was originally a way for the parishioners to recognize and show their Puerto Rican Heritage, and eventually became the modern day San Juan Bautista Parade. Since its conception, the parade has grown into the Parada San Juan Bautista, Inc, a non-for-profit organization dedicated to maintaining the community presence of Camden's Hispanic and Latino members. Some of the work that the Parada San Juan Bautista, Inc has done include a month long event for the parade with a community commemorative mass and a coronation pageant. The organization also awards up to $360,000 in scholarships to high school students of Puerto Rican descent.

On May 30, 2000 Camden resident and grassroots organizer Lillian Santiago began a movement to rebuild abandoned lots in her North Camden neighborhood into playgrounds. The movement was met with resistance from the Camden government, citing monetary issues. As Santiago's movement gained more notability in her neighborhoods she was able to move other community members into action, including Reverend Heywood Wiggins. Wiggins was the president of the Camden Churches Organized for People, a coalition of 29 churches devoted to the improvement of Camden's communities, and with his support Santiago's movement succeeded. Santiago and Wiggins were also firm believers in Community Policing, which would result in their fight against Camden's corrupt police department and the eventual turnover to the State government.

Arts and Entertainment

Camden has two generally recognized neighborhoods located on the Delaware River waterfront, Central and South. The Waterfront South was founded in 1851 by the Kaighns Point Land Company. During World War Two, Waterfront South housed many of the industrial workers for the New York Shipbuilding Company. Currently, the Waterfront is home to many historical buildings and cultural icons. The Waterfront South neighborhood is considered a federal and state historic area due to its history and culturally significant buildings, such as the Sacred Heart Church, and the South Camden Trust Company The Central Waterfront is located adjacent to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and is home to the Nipper Building (also known as The Victor), the Adventure Aquarium, and Battleship New Jersey, a museum ship located at the Home Port Alliance.

Starting on February 16, 2012, Camden's Waterfront began an art crawl and volunteer initiative called Third Thursday in an effort to support local Camden business and restaurants. Part of Camden's art crawl movement exists in Studio Eleven One, a fully restored 1906 firehouse opened in 2011 that operated as an art gallery owned by William and Ronja Butlers. The Butlers moved to Camden in 2011 from Des Moines, Iowa and began the Third Thursday art movement. William Butler and Studio Eleven One are a part of his wife's company Thomas Lift LLC, self described as a "socially conscious company" that works to connect Camden's art scene with philanthropic organizations. Some of the work they have done includes work against Human Trafficking, and ecological donations.

Starting in 2014, Camden began Connect The Lots, a community program designed to revitalize unused areas for community engagement,. Connect the Lots was founded through The Kresge Foundation, and the project "seeks to create temporary, high-quality, safe outdoor spaces that are consistently programed with local cultural and recreational activities" Other partnerships with the Connect the Lots foundation include the Cooper's Ferry Partnership, a private non-profit corporation dedicated to urban renewal. Connect the Lots' main work are their 'Pop up Parks' that they create around Camden. In 2014, Connect the lots created a pop up skate park for Camden youth with assistance from Camden residents as well as students. As of 2016, the Connect the Lots program free programs have expanded to include outdoor yoga and free concerts.

In October 2014, Camden finished construction of the Kroc Center, a Salvation Army funded community center located in the Cramer Hill neighborhood. The Kroc center's mission is to provide both social services to the people of Camden as well as community engagement opportunities. The center was funded by a $59 million donation from Joan Kroc, and from the Salvation Army. The project was launched in 2005 with a proposed completion date of one year. However, due to the location of the site as well as governmental concerns, the project was delayed. The Kroc center's location was the an 85-acre former landfill which closed in 1971. Salvation Army Major Paul Cain states the landfill's location to the waterfront and the necessity to handle storm water management as main reasons for the delay. The Center was eventually opened on October 4, 2014, with almost citywide acclaim. Camden Mayor Dana Redd on the opening of the center called it "the crown jewel of the city". The Kroc Center offers an 8-lane, 25-yard competition pool, a children's water park, various athletic and entertainment options, as well as an in center chapel.

Religious presence

Camden has a large religious presence, brought out by the necessity of citizens for both physical needs and societal support. Many of the churches in Camden operate as non-profit or as community centers.

The first Scientology church was incorporated in December 1953 in Camden by L. Ron Hubbard, his wife Mary Sue Hubbard, and John Galusha.

Father Michael Doyle, the pastor of Sacred Heart Church located in North Camden, has played a large role in Camden's spiritual and social history. In 1971, Doyle was part of the Camden 28, a group of anti-Vietnam War activists who planned to raid a draft board office in the city. This is noted by many as the start of Doyle's activities as a radical 'catholic left'. Following these activities, Doyle went on to become a parishioner for Sacred Heart, as well as becoming a poet and an activist. Father Doyle and the Sacred Heart Church's main mission is to form a connection between the primarily white suburban surrounding areas and the inner-city of Camden.

In 1982, Father Mark Aita of Holy Name of Camden founded the St. Luke's Catholic Medical Services. Aita, a medical doctor and a member of the Society of Jesus, created the first medical system in Camden that did not use rotating primary care physicians. Since its conception, St. Luke's has grown to include Patient Education Classes as well as home medical services, aiding over seven thousand Camden residents.

Transportation

Roads and highways

Ben Franklin Bridge at sunrise 2009-09-02 06-08-46 4w
The Ben Franklin Bridge at sunrise, connecting Camden, at right, to Philadelphia.

As of May 2010, the city had a total of 181.92 miles (292.77 km) of roadways, of which 147.54 miles (237.44 km) were maintained by the municipality, 25.39 miles (40.86 km) by Camden County, 6.60 miles (10.62 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 2.39 miles (3.85 km) by the Delaware River Port Authority.

Interstate 676 and U.S. Route 30 run through Camden to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on the north side of the city. Interstate 76 passes through briefly and interchanges with Interstate 676.

Route 168 passes through briefly in the south, and County Routes 537, 543, 551 and 561 all travel through the heart of the city.

Public transportation

Riverline At Walter Rand
The River Line (NJ Transit) at Walter Rand – a light rail system connecting Camden to Trenton.

NJ Transit's Walter Rand Transportation Center is located at Martin Luther King Boulevard and Broadway. In addition to being a hub for NJ Transit (NJT) buses in the Southern Division, Greyhound Lines, the PATCO Speedline and River Line make stops at the station.

The PATCO Speedline offers frequent train service to Philadelphia and the suburbs to the east in Camden County, with stations at City Hall, Broadway (Walter Rand Transportation Center) and Ferry Avenue. The line operates 24 hours a day.

Since its opening in 2004, NJ Transit's River Line has offered 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.

NJ Transit bus service is available to and from Philadelphia on the 313, 315, 317, 318 and 400, 401, 402, 404, 406, 408, 409, 410, 412, 414, and 417, to Atlantic City is served by the 551 bus. Local service is offered on the 403, 405, 407, 413, 418, 419, 450, 451, 452, 453, and 457 lines.

Studies are being conducted to create the Camden-Philadelphia BRT, a bus rapid transit system, with a 2012 plan to develop routes that would cover the 23 miles (37 km) between Winslow Township and Philadelphia with a stop at the Walter Rand Transportation Center.

RiverLink Ferry is seasonal service across the Delaware River to Penn's Landing in Philadelphia.

Waterfront

Camden waterfront skyline
View of the Camden waterfront from Philadelphia in 2005

One of the most popular attractions in Camden is the city's waterfront, along the Delaware River. The waterfront is highlighted by its four main attractions, the USS New Jersey; the BB&T Pavilion; Campbell's Field; and the Adventure Aquarium. The waterfront is also the headquarters for Catapult Learning, a provider of K−12 contracted instructional services to public and private schools in the United States, and WebiMax, a full-service internet marketing company.

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 to revitalize the city.

The Susquehanna Bank Center (formerly known as the Tweeter Center) is a 25,000-seat open-air concert amphitheater opened in 1995 and renamed after a 2008 deal in which the bank would pay $10 million over 15 years for naming rights.

Campbell's Field, opened in 2001, was home to the Camden Riversharks (which folded in 2015) of the independent Atlantic League; and the Rutgers–Camden baseball team.

The USS New Jersey (BB-62) was a U.S. Navy battleship that was intermittently active between the years 1943 and 1991. After its retirement, the ship was turned into the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial, opened in 2001 along the waterfront. The New Jersey saw action during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and provided support off Lebanon in early 1983.

Other 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 Children's Garden.

In June 2014, the Philadelphia 76ers announced that they would move their practice facility and home offices to the Camden Waterfront, adding 250 permanent jobs in the city creating what CEO Scott O'Neil described as "biggest and best training facility in the country" using $82 million in tax savings offered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

The Waterfront is also served by two modes of public transportation. NJ 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.

Riverfront State Prison, was a state penitentiary located near downtown Camden north of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, which opened in August 1985 having been constructed at a cost of $31 million. The prison had a design capacity of 631 inmates, but housed 1,020 in 2007 and 1,017 in 2008. The last prisoners were transferred in June 2009 to other locations and the prison was closed and subsequently demolished, with the site expected to be redeveloped by the State of New Jersey, the City of Camden, and private investors. In December 2012, the New Jersey Legislature approved the sale of the 16-acre (6.5 ha) site, considered surplus property to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

Points of interest

In popular culture

The fictional Camden mayor Carmine Polito in the 2013 film American Hustle is loosely based on 1970s Camden mayor Angelo Errichetti.

The 1995 film 12 Monkeys contains scenes on Camden's Admiral Wilson Boulevard.

Camden is a setting in "Self-Destruct", a third-season episode of The CW television show Nikita, in which Alex and Nikita destroys a drug and human trafficking gang and their headquarters.

Economy

Campbellsoupheadquarters
Entrance to Campbell Soup Company headquarters in Camden

About 45% of employment in Camden is in the "eds and meds" sector, providing educational and medical institutions.

Largest employers

  • Campbell Soup Company
  • Cooper University Hospital
  • Delaware River Port Authority
  • L3 Technologies, formerly L-3 Communications
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center
  • Rutgers University–Camden
  • State of New Jersey
    • New Jersey Judiciary
  • Subaru of America; relocated from suburban Cherry Hill in 2018
  • Susquehanna Bank
  • UrbanPromise Ministry (largest private employer of teenagers)

Urban enterprise zone

Portions of Camden are part of a joint Urban Enterprise Zone. The city was selected in 1983 as one of the initial group of 10 zones chosen to participate in the program. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3.3125% sales tax rate (half of the 6.625% rate charged statewide) at eligible merchants. Established in September 1988, the city's Urban Enterprise Zone status expires in December 2023.

The UEZ program in Camden and four other original UEZ cities had been allowed to lapse as of January 1, 2017, after Governor Chris Christie, who called the program an "abject failure", vetoed a compromise bill that would have extended the status for two years. In May 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed a law that reinstated the program in these five cities and extended the expiration date in other zones.

Redevelopment

See also: List of tallest buildings in Camden
The End of Cooper St.
From left to right, Camden Towers, American Water Headquarters and 11 Cooper St Apartments

The state of New Jersey has awarded more than $1.65 billion in tax credits to more than 20 businesses through the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act. These companies include Subaru, Lockheed Martin, American Water, EMR Eastern and Holtec.

South Jersey Gas Camden NJ
The former Camden Downtown Branch building of the Camden County Library

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. In June 2012, Campbell Soup Company acquired the 4-acre (1.6 ha) site of the vacant Sears building located near its corporate offices, where the company plans to construct the Gateway Office Park, and razed the Sears building after receiving approval from the city government and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

In 2013, Cherokee Investment Partners had a plan to redevelop north Camden with 5,000 new homes and a shopping center on 450 acres (1.8 km2). Cherokee dropped their plans in the face of local opposition and the slumping real estate market. They are among several companies receiving New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) tax incentives to relocate jobs in the city.

Lockheed Martin was awarded $107 million in tax breaks, from the Economic Redevelopment Agency, to move to Camden. Lockheed rents 50,000 square feet of the L-3 communications building in Camden. Lockheed Martin invested $146.4 million into their Camden Project According to the Economic Redevelopment Agency. Lockheed stated that without these tax breaks they would have had to eliminate jobs.

In 2013 Camden received $59 million from the Kroc estate to be used in the construction of a new community center and another $10 million was raised by the Salvation Army to cover the remaining construction costs. The Ray and John Kroc Corps Community Center, opened in 2014, is a 120,000 square foot community center with an 8,000 square foot water park and a 60 ft ceiling. The community center also contains a food pantry, a computer lab, a black box theater, a chapel, two pools, a gym, an outdoor track and field, a library with reading rooms, and both indoor and outdoor basketball courts.

In 2015 Holtec was given $260 million over the course of 10-year to open up a 600,000-square-foot campus in Camden. Holtec stated that they plan to hire at least 1000 employees within the first year of them opening their doors in Camden. According to the Economic Development Agency, Holtec is slated to bring in $155,520 in net benefit to the state by moving to Camden, but in this deal, Holtec has no obligation to stay in Camden after its 10-year tax credits run out. Holtec's reports stated that the construction of the building would cost $260 million which would be equivalent to the tax benefits they received.

In fall 2017 Rutgers University Camden Campus opened up their Nursing and Science Building. Rutgers spent $62.5 million to build their 107,000-square-foot building located at 5th and Federal St. This building houses their physics, chemistry, biology and nursing classes along with nursing simulation labs.

In November 2017, Francisco "Frank" Moran was elected as the 48th Mayor of Camden. Prior to this, one of Moran's roles was as the director of Camden County Parks Department where he was in charge of overseeing several park projects expanding the Camden County Park System, including the Cooper River Park, as well as bringing back public ice skating rinks to the parks in Camden County.

Moran has helped in bringing several companies to Camden, including Subaru of America, Lockheed Martin, Philadelphia 76ers, Holtec International, American Water, Liberty Property Trust, as well as EMR.

Moran has also assisted with the public schools of Camden by supplying them with new resources, such as new technology for the classrooms, as well as new facilities.

American Water was awarded $164.2 million in tax credits from the New Jersey's Grow New Jersey Assistance Program to build a five-story 220,000-square-foot building at Camden's waterfront. American Water opened this building in December 2018 becoming the first in a long line of new waterfront attractions planned to come to Camden.

The NJ American Water Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit is a $985,000 grant which was introduced in July 2018. It is part of $4.8 million that New Jersey American Water has invested in Camden. Its purpose will be to allow current residents to remain in the city by providing them with $5,000 grants to make necessary home repairs. Some of the funding will also go towards Camden SMART (Stormwater Management and Resource Training). Funding will also go towards the Cramer Hill NOW Initiative, which focuses on improving infrastructure and parks.

On June 5, 2017, Cooper's Poynt Park was completed. The 5-acre park features multi-use trails, a playground, and new lighting. Visitors can see both the Delaware River and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Prior to 1985, the land the park resides on was open space that allowed Camden residents access to the waterfront. In 1985, the Riverfront State Prison was built, blocking that access. The land become available for the park to be built when the prison was demolished in 2009. Funding for the park was provided by Wells Fargo Regional Foundation, the William Penn Foundation, the State Department of Community Affairs, the Fund for New Jersey, and the Camden Economic Recovery Board.

Cooper's Ferry Partnership is a private non-profit founded in 1984. It was originally known as Cooper's Ferry Association until it merged with the Greater Camden Partnership in 2011, becoming Cooper's Ferry Partnership. Kris Kolluri is the current CEO. In a broad sense, their goal is to identify and advance economic development in Camden. While this does include housing rehabilitation, Cooper's Ferry is involved in multiple projects. This includes the Camden Greenway, which is a set of hiking and biking trails, and the Camden SMART (Stormwater Management and Resource Training) Initiative.

In January 2019, Camden received a $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies for A New View, which is a public art project seeking to change illegal dump sites into public art fixtures. A New View is part of Bloomberg Philanthropies larger Public Art Challenge. Additionally, the program will educate residents of the harmful effects of illegal dumping. The effort will include the Cooper's Ferry Partnership, the Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts, the Camden Collaborative Initiative, and the Camden City Cultural and Heritage Commission, as well as local businesses and residents. Locations to be targeted include dumping sites within proximity of Port Authority Transit Corporation high speed-line, the RiverLine, and the Camden GreenWay. According to Mayor Francisco Moran, illegal dumping costs Camden more than $4 million each year.

Housing

Saint Joseph's Carpenters Society

Saint Josephs Carpenter Society (SJCS) is a 501c(3) non-profit organization located in Camden. Pilar Hogan is the current executive director. Their focus is on the rehabilitation of current residences, as well as the creation of new low income, rent-controlled housing. SJCS is attempting to tackle the problem of abandoned properties in Camden by tracking down the homeowners, so they can then purchase and rehabilitate the property. Since the organizations beginning, it has overseen the rehabilitation or construction of over 500 homes in Camden.

SJCS also provides some education and assistance in the home-buying process to prospective homebuyers in addition to their rehabilitation efforts. This includes a credit report analysis, information on how to establish credit, and assistance in finding other help for the homebuyers.

In March 2019, SJCS received $207,500 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) NeighborWorks America program. NeighborWorks America is a public non-profit created by Congress in 1978, which is tasked with supporting community development efforts at the local level.

Mount Laurel Doctrine

The Mount Laurel doctrine stems from a 1975 court case, Southern Burlington County N.A.A.C.P. v. Mount Laurel Township (Mount Laurel I). The doctrine was an interpretation of the New Jersey State Constitution, and states that municipalities may not use their zoning laws in an exclusionary manner to make housing unaffordable to low and moderate income people. The court case itself was a challenge to Mount Laurel specifically, in which plaintiffs claimed that the township operated with the intent of making housing unaffordable for low and moderate income people. The doctrine is more broad than the court case, covering all New Jersey municipalities.

Failed redevelopment projects

In early 2013, ShopRite announced that they would open the first full-service grocery store in Camden in 30 years, with plans to open their doors in 2015. In 2016 the company announced that they no longer planned to move to Camden leaving the plot of land on Admiral Willson Boulevard barren and the 20-acre section of the city as a food desert.

In May 2018, Chinese company Ofo brought its dockless bikes to Camden, along with many other cities, for a six-month pilot in an attempt to break into the American market. After two months in July 2018 Ofo decided to remove its bikes from Camden as part of a broader pullout from most of the American cities they had entered due to a decision that it was not profitable to be in these American cities.

On March 28, 2019, a former financial officer for Hewlett-Packard, Gulsen Kama, alleged that the company received a tax break based on false information. The company qualified for a $2.7 million tax break from the Grow NJ incentive of the Economic Development Authority (EDA). Kama testified that the company qualified for the tax break because of a false cost-benefit analysis she was ordered to prepare. She claims the analysis included a plan to move to Florida that was not in consideration by the company. The Grow NJ Incentive has granted $11 billion in tax breaks to preserve and create jobs in New Jersey, but it has experienced problems as well. A state comptroller sample audit ordered by Governor Phil Murphy showed that approximately 3,000 jobs companies listed with the EDA do not actually exist. Those jobs could be worth $11 million in tax credits. The audit also showed that the EDA did not collect sufficient data on companies that received tax credits.

Education

Public schools

Camden's public schools are operated by the Camden City School District. As of the 2017–18 school year, the district, comprising 20 schools, had an enrollment of 9,570 students and 705.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 13.6:1. The district is one of 31 former Abbott districts statewide, which are now referred to as "SDA Districts" based on the requirement for the state to cover all costs for school building and renovation projects in these districts under the supervision of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.

High schools in the district (with 2017–18 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics [number of students; grade levels]) are:) are Brimm Medical Arts High School (211; 9–12), Camden Big Picture Learning Academy (249; 6–12), Camden High School (423; 9–12), Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy (345; 6–12), Pride Academy (NA; 6–12) and Woodrow Wilson High School (784; 9–12).

Charter and renaissance schools

KIPP Cooper Norcross Lanning Square Primary and MIddle School
KIPP Cooper Norcross Lanning Square Primary and Middle School

In 2012, The Urban Hope Act was signed into law, allowing renaissance schools to open in Trenton, Newark, and Camden. The renaissance schools, run by charter companies, differed from charter schools, as they enrolled students based on the surrounding neighborhood, similar to the city school district. This makes renaissance schools a hybrid of charter and public schools. This is the act that allowed Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), Uncommon Schools, and Mastery Schools to open in the city.

Under the renaissance charter school proposal, the Henry L. Bonsall Family School became Uncommon Schools Camden Prep Mt. Ephraim Campus, East Camden Middle School has become part of Mastery Charter Schools, Francis X. Mc Graw Elementary School and Rafael Cordero Molina Elementary School have become part of the Mastery charter network. The J.G Whittier Family school has become part of the KIPP Public Charter Schools as KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy. Students were given the option to stay with the school under their transition or seek other alternatives.

In the 2013–2014 school year, Camden city proposed a budget of $72 million to allot to charter schools in the city. In previous years, Camden city charter schools have used $52 million and $66 million in the 2012–2013 and 2013–2014 school years, respectively.

On March 9, 2015, the first year of the new Camden Charter Schools the enrollment raised concern. Mastery and Uncommon charter schools failed to meet enrollment projections for their first year of operation by 15% and 21%, according to Education Law Center. Also, the KIPP and Uncommon Charter Schools had enrolled students with disabilities and English Language learners at a level far below the enrollment of these students in the Camden district. The enrollment data on the Mastery, Uncommon and KIPP charter chains comes from the state-operated Camden district and raised questions whether or not the data is viable, especially since it had said that Camden parents prefer charters over neighborhood public schools. In addition, there was a concern that these charter schools are not serving students with special needs at comparable level to district enrollment, developing the idea of growing student segregation and isolation in Camden schools as these chains expand in the coming years.

In October 2016, Governor Chris Christie, Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd, Camden Public Schools Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard, and state and local representatives announced a historical $133 million investment of a new Camden High School Project. The new school is planned to be ready for student occupancy in 2021. It would have 9th and 12th grade. The school has a history of 100 years and has needed endless repairs. The plan is to give students a 21st-century education.

Chris Christie stated, " This new, state-of-the-art school will honor the proud tradition of the Castle on the Hill, enrich our society and improve the lives of students and those around them."

As of 2019, there are 3,850 Camden students enrolled in one of the city's renaissance schools, and 4,350 Camden students are enrolled one of the city's charter schools. Combined, these students make up approximately 55% of the 15,000 students in Camden.

Charter schools

  • Camden's Promise Charter School
  • Environment Community Opportunity (ECO) Charter School
  • Freedom Prep Charter School
  • Hope Community Charter School
  • LEAP Academy University Charter School

Renaissance schools

  • Uncommon Schools Camden Prep
  • KIPP Cooper Norcross
    • Lanning Square Primary School
    • Lanning Square Middle School
    • Whittier Middle School
  • Mastery Schools of Camden
    • Cramer Hill Elementary
    • Molina Lower Elementary
    • Molina Upper Elementary
    • East Camden Middle
    • Mastery High School of Camden
    • McGraw Elementary

Private education

Holy Name School, Sacred Heart Grade School, St. Anthony of Padua School and St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral School are K-8 elementary schools operating under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden. They operate as four of the five schools in the Catholic Partnership Schools, a post-parochial model of Urban Catholic Education. The Catholic Partnership Schools are committed to sustaining safe and nurturing schools that inspire and prepare students for rigorous, college preparatory secondary schools or vocations.

Higher education

Ru-camden-campus
View of Rutgers University–Camden with Philadelphia skyline in background

The University District, adjacent to the downtown, is home to the following institutions:

  • Camden County College – one of three main campuses, the college first came to the city in 1969, and constructed a campus building in Camden in 1991.
  • Rowan University at Camden, satellite campus – the Camden campus began with a program for teacher preparation in 1969 and expanded with standard college courses the following year and a full-time day program in 1980.
  • Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
  • Rutgers University–Camden – the Camden campus, one of three main sites in the university system, began as South Jersey Law School and the College of South Jersey in the 1920s and was merged into Rutgers in 1950.
    • Camden College of Arts & Sciences
    • School of Business – Camden
    • Rutgers School of Law-Camden
  • University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)
    • Affiliated with Cooper University Hospital
  • Coriell Institute for Medical Research
    • Affiliated with Cooper University Hospital
    • Affiliated with Rowan University
    • Affiliated with University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

Libraries

The city was once home to two Carnegie libraries, the Main Building and the Cooper Library in Johnson Park. The city's once extensive library system, beleaguered by financial difficulties, threatened to close at the end of 2010, but was incorporated into the county system. The main branch closed in February 2011, and was later reopened by the county in the bottom floor of the Paul Robeson Library at Rutgers University.

Camden also has three academic libraries; The Paul Robeson Library at Rutgers University-Camden serves Rutgers undergraduate and graduate students, as well as students from the Camden campuses of Camden County College and Rowan University. Rutgers Law School has a law library and Cooper Medical School at Rowan has a medical library.

Sports

Baseball

The Camden Riversharks and Campbell's Field

The Camden Riversharks were an American professional baseball team based in Camden. They were a member of the Liberty Division of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. From the 2001 season to 2015, the Riversharks played their home games at Campbell's Field, which is situated next to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Due to its location on the Camden Waterfront the field offers a clear view of the Philadelphia skyline. The "Riversharks" name refers to the location of Camden on the Delaware River. The Riversharks were the first professional baseball team in Camden, New Jersey since the 1904 season.

When Rutgers-Camden owned the team in 2001, the River Sharks logo was a navy blue ring with the words Camden in between. Underneath was a sharp toothed shark eating the words "River Sharks." The Riversharks' last logo, introduced in 2005 with a new ownership group, consisted of a shark biting a baseball bat superimposed over a depiction of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

On October 21, 2015, the Camden Riversharks announced they would cease operations immediately due to the inability to reach an agreement on lease terms with the owner of Campbell's Field, the Camden County Improvement Authority. The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, whom the Riversharks play for, announced New Britain Rock Cats had joined the league and Camden was one of two teams which could potentially replace the New England team. Since negotiations with the Riversharks and The Camden County Improvement Authority could not be met, the Riversharks ended their 15 years playing at Campbell's Field. The Riversharks folded after losing their lease, a development that followed the purchase of the financially troubled stadium by the CCIA for $3.5 million.

Campbell's Field

Campbell's Field opened alongside of the Ben Franklin Bridge in May 2001 after two years of construction. Campbell's Field is a 6,700-seat baseball park in Camden, New Jersey, United States that hosted its first regular season baseball game on May 11, 2001. The riverfront project was a joint venture backed by the state, Rutgers University, Cooper's Ferry Development Association and the Delaware River Port Authority. The construction of the ballpark was a $24 million project that also included $7 million in environmental remediation costs before building. Before the construction of Cambell's Field, the plot of land was vacant and historically known to house industrial buildings and businesses such as Campbell Soup Company Plant No. 2, Pennsylvania & Reading Rail Road's Linden Street Freight Station. The park, located at Delaware and Penn Avenues on the Camden Waterfront features a view of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge connecting Camden and a clear view of the Philadelphia skyline.

The ballpark remains home to the Rutgers Camden's college baseball team, and until 2015 was home to the Camden Riversharks of the independent Atlantic League of Baseball. The naming rights are owned by the Camden-based Cambell Soup Company, which paid $3 million over ten years.

On June 15, 1999, former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman attended the stadium's first game.

Cambell's Field was one of the projects designed to bring urban renewal in Camden. In 2003, Campbell's Field was honored by Digitalballparks.com as "Ball Park of the Year." Campbell's Field was again honored in 2004 by Baseball America as the "Ballpark of the Year." Campbell's Field has been honored with several local awards, including the Camden County Improvement Authority Entertainment Award in 2000, the International Masonry Institute Golden Trowel Award in 2001, the Urban Land Institute's Award for Excellence in 2002, the Downtown New Jersey Excellence Award, the New Jersey Business and Industry Association Good Neighbor Award, and the Distinguished Award for Engineering Excellence given by the Consulting Engineers Council of New Jersey in 2003.

Campbell's Field was bought in August 2015 by the Camden County Improvement Authority (CCIA). In October 2015, after failing to reach an agreement with CCIA, the stadium's primary professional tenant, the Camden Riversharks, ceased operations.

Club Sport League Venue Logo
Camden Riversharks (from 2001 to 2015) Baseball Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Campbell's Field
Financial troubles

The field had financial troubles up to and including the loss of the Riversharks lease. Approximately $21 million went into the building of the field, with loans and bonds being sourced from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, Sovereign Bank, the Delaware River Port Authority, Rutgers University, as well as builder equity financing. The NJEDA paid an additional $3.7 million to keep the field up and running when the stadium ran into debt troubles in 2004. The field's debt continued to coincide with the debt of the Riversharks, until the threat of foreclosure seemed imminent. When the team was dissolved in 2015, litigation led to a $3.5 million payment by Camden County to keep the field open. The buying of the team by the county helped settle a $4 million lawsuit that was filed by Santander Bank (formerly Sovereign Bank) for past construction loan repayments.

The loss of the Riversharks lease led the county to search for alternative teams to take over use of the almost 7000 seat stadium. Stadium owners were looking for a deal with an MLB team, as the stadium would have been ideal in its capacity for a Single A minor league affiliated team. Talks culminated with the attraction of one Major League baseball team. As the Philadelphia Phillies hold territorial jurisdiction over southern NJ and have power to deny any other teams taking interest in the area, they were likely the team interested in giving the stadium a new direction, despite never confirming positive interest in the stadium. In spite of the claimed interest, the stadium never attracted a serious offer from a professional team. After looking for multiple lease takers, the stadium was scheduled for destruction. As of Spring 2019, DRPA still has 10% of its total debt tied into the failed stadium, with it being claimed as the last of such investment projects taken by the agency.

Campbell's Field demoliton site
Site of the field after its demolition, with the Ben Franklin bridge in the background
Demolition

After the loss of the Riversharks lease in 2015, the stadium had for the most part been unused, with its only activity being the home of Rutgers University-Camden's home baseball games. In September 2018, a contractor was awarded the $1.1 million task of demolishing the stadium, which had cost the state and port authority around $35 million in property loans and leases. Demolition was scheduled for December 2018 and would likely continue into the following spring. The site, which is notable in its history of being the site for multiple different buildings and complexes, is planned to become the host of future development projects jointly owned by Rutgers University and the city of Camden. As of spring 2019, the Rutgers baseball team will play the entirety of their season on the road, following the demolition of their home stadium. An investment totaling $15 million, planned to be split evenly between Rutgers and the city of Camden, will reportedly develop the area into a recreational complex for the city, as well as accommodations for the university's NCAA Division III sports teams.

Basketball

Philadelphia 76ers training facility

Phil76ersTrainFacilCamden1
The 76ers Training Facility in Camden

A training facility for Philadelphia's NBA team, the 76ers, had been planned for different areas, with the Camden waterfront being one of the potential sites. The team had also deliberated building on the local Camden Navy Yard, including receiving architect mock-ups of a 55,000 square foot facility for an estimated $20–25 million, but these plans didn't come to fruition. Eventually, an $82 million grant was approved by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to begin construction of the training facility in Camden, and was scheduled to break ground in October 2014. Based on contingent hiring, the grant was to be paid out over 10 years, with the facility scheduled to host practices by 2016. The grant was somewhat controversial in that it saves the 76ers organization from paying any property taxes or fees that would be accrued by the building over its first decade. Vocal opponents of the facility claim that the site has now joined a list of large companies or industries that are invited to Camden with monetary incentive, but give little or nothing back to the community itself.

The facility was to be divided into both player and coach accommodations, as well as office facilities for the rest of the organization. 66,230 square feet were devoted solely to the 2 full-sized basketball courts and player training facilities, while the remainder of the 125,000 square foot complex was reserved for offices and operations. While the 76ers used to share their practice facilities with the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, they now claim one of the largest and most advanced facilities in the NBA. The training facilities include the two full-size courts, as well as a weight room, full hydrotherapy room, Gatorade Fuel Bar, full players-only restaurant and personal chef, medical facilities, film room, and full locker room. The complex will eventually provide 250 jobs, including team staff and marketing employees.

Notable people

Community members

  • Mary Ellen Avery (1927–2011), pediatrician whose research led to development of successful treatment for Infant respiratory distress syndrome.
  • The Camden 28, members of the Catholic left and other religious groups who broke into the draft board offices in Camden in opposition to the Vietnam War.

Artists and authors

  • Graham Alexander (born 1989), singer-songwriter, entertainer, and entrepreneur known best for his solo music career and for his roles in the Broadway shows Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles and Let It Be and as the founder of a new incarnation of the Victor Talking Machine Co.
  • Christine Andreas (born 1951), Broadway actress and singer.
  • Vernon Howe Bailey (1874–1953), artist.
  • Butch Ballard (1918–2011), jazz drummer who performed with Louis Armstrong, Count Basie and Duke Ellington.
  • Paul Baloche (born 1962), Christian music artist, worship leader, and singer-songwriter.
  • Carla L. Benson, vocalist best known for her recorded background vocals.
  • Cindy Birdsong (born 1939), singer who became famous as a member of The Supremes in 1967, when she replaced co-founding member Florence Ballard.
  • Nelson Boyd (born 1928), jazz bassist.
  • Stephen Decatur Button (1813–1897), architect; designer of schools, churches and Camden's Old City Hall (1874–75, demolished 1930).
  • James Cardwell (1921–1954), actor best known for his debut appearance in the film The Fighting Sullivans.
  • Betty Cavanna (1909–2001), author of popular teen romance novels, mysteries, and children's books.
  • Vedra Chandler (born 1980), singer and dancer.
  • Andrew Clements (1949–2019), writer of children's books, known for his debut novel Frindle
  • Russ Columbo (1908–1934), baritone, songwriter, violinist and actor known for his romantic ballads, such as "Prisoner of Love".
  • Jimmy Conlin (1884–1962), character actor who appeared in almost 150 films in his 32-year career.
  • Alex Da Corte (born 1980), visual artist.
  • Buddy DeFranco (1923–2014), jazz clarinetist.
  • Wayne Dockery (1941–2018), jazz double bassist.
  • Nick Douglas (born 1967), musician, best known for being the bass player of Doro Pesch's band.
  • Lola Falana (born 1942), singer and dancer.
  • Margaret Giannini (born 1921), physician and specialist in assistive technology and rehabilitation, who was the first director of the National Institute of Disability Rehabilitation Research.
  • Heather Henderson (born 1973), singer, model, podcaster, actress and Dance Party USA performer
  • Richard "Groove" Holmes (1931–1991), jazz organist.
  • Leon Huff (born 1942), songwriter and record producer.
  • Barbara Ingram (1947–1994), R&B background singer.
  • Chas. Floyd Johnson (born 1941), television producer, actor and activist, known for The Rockford Files (1975–1980), Magnum, P.I. (1982–1988) and Red Tails (2012).
  • Jaryd Jones-Smith (born 1995), American football offensive tackle for the Las Vegas Raiders of the NFL.
  • Edward Lewis (1919–2019), film producer and writer, known for the 1960 film Spartacus and for his collaborations with John Frankenheimer, producing or executive producing nine films together.
  • Eric Lewis (ELEW) (born 1973), pianist.
  • Michael Lisicky (born 1964), non-fiction writer and oboist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
  • Ann Pennington (1893–1971), actress, dancer and singer who starred on Broadway in the 1910s and 1920s, notably in the Ziegfeld Follies and George White's Scandals.
  • Jim Perry (1933–2015), television game show host, singer, announcer and performer in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • Ronny J (born 1992), record producer, rapper and singer.
  • Tasha Smith (born 1969), actress, director and producer who began her career in a starring role on the NBC comedy series Boston Common.
  • Anna Sosenko (1909–2000), songwriter and manager who achieved great popularity in the 1930s.
  • Richard Sterban (born 1943), member of the Oak Ridge Boys.
  • Mickalene Thomas (born 1970), artist.
  • Frank Tiberi (born 1928), leader of the Woody Herman Orchestra.
  • Tye Tribbett (born 1976), gospel music singer, songwriter, keyboardist and choir director.
  • Julia Udine (born 1993), singer and actress best known for playing the role of Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and on tour.
  • Jack Vees (born 1955), composer and bassist.
  • Nick Virgilio (1928–1989), haiku poet.
  • Crystal Waters (born 1967), house and dance music singer and songwriter, best known for her 1990s dance hits "Gypsy Woman" and "100% Pure Love."
  • Walt Whitman (1819–1892), essayist, journalist and poet.
  • Buster Williams (born 1942), jazz bassist.

Politicians

  • Rob Andrews (born 1957), U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 1st congressional district, served 1990–2014.
  • David Baird Jr. (1881–1955), U.S. Senator from 1929 to 1930, unsuccessful Republican nominee for governor in 1931.
  • David Baird Sr. (1839–1927), United States Senator from New Jersey.
  • Arthur Barclay (born 1982), politician who served on the Camden City Council for two years and has represented the 5th Legislative District in the New Jersey General Assembly since 2016.
  • William J. Browning (1850–1920), represented New Jersey's 1st congressional district in U.S. House of Representatives, 1911–1920.
  • William T. Cahill (1912–1996), politician who served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1958–1970) and as Governor of New Jersey (1971–1975).
  • Bonnie Watson Coleman (born 1945), politician who has served as the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 12th congressional district since 2015.
  • Mary Keating Croce (1928–2016), politician who served in the New Jersey General Assembly for three two-year terms, from 1974 to 1980, before serving as the Chairwoman of the New Jersey State Parole Board in the 1990s.
  • Lawrence Curry (1936–2018), educator and politician who served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1993 to 2012, was born in Camden.
  • James Dellet (1788–1848), politician and a member of the United States House of Representatives from Alabama.
  • Angel Fuentes (born 1961), former Assmblyman who has served as President of the Camden city council.
  • Carmen M. Garcia, former Chief judge of Municipal Court in Trenton, New Jersey.
  • John J. Horn (1917–1999), labor leader and politician who served in both houses of the New Jersey Legislature before being nominated to serve as commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Industry.
  • Robert S. MacAlister (1897–1957), Los Angeles City Council member, 1934–39.
  • Richard Mroz, President of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
  • Donald Norcross (born 1958), U.S. Congressman representing New Jersey's 1st congressional district.
  • Francis F. Patterson Jr. (1867–1935), represented New Jersey's 1st congressional district in U.S. House of Representatives, 1920–1927.
  • William Spearman (born 1958), politician who has represented the 5th Legislative District in the New Jersey General Assembly since 2018.
  • John F. Starr (1818–1904), represented New Jersey's 1st congressional district in U.S. House of Representatives, 1863–1867.

Athletes

Other

  • Joe Angelo (1896–1978), U.S. Army veteran of World War I and recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross.
  • U. E. Baughman (1905–1978), head of United States Secret Service from 1948 to 1961.
  • Richard Hollingshead (1900–1975), inventor of the drive-in theater.
  • Aaron McCargo Jr. (born 1971), chef and television personality who hosts Big Daddy's House, a cooking show on Food Network.
  • Lucy Taxis Shoe Meritt (1906–2003), classical archaeologist and a scholar of Greek architectural ornamentation and mouldings.
  • Thomas J. Osler (born c. 1940), mathematician, former national champion distance runner and author.
  • Jim Perry (1933–2015), game show host and television personality.
  • Tommy Roberts (born 1928), radio and TV broadcaster who launched simulcast in 1984, a television feed of horse races to racetracks, casinos and off-track betting facilities, enabling gamblers to watch and bet on live racing from all over the world.
  • Richard Valeriani (1932–2018), former White House correspondent and diplomatic correspondent with NBC News in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • John P. Van Leer (1825-1862), Union Army officer
  • Mary Schenck Woolman (1860–1940), pioneer in vocational education for women.
  • Phil Zimmermann (born 1954), programmer who developed Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), a type of data encryption.

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