The Temple Theater
415 Market Street

Camden's first real theater was the Temple Theater, which opened as a Masonic building in 1892. Before the opening of the Temple, Camden playgoers needed to cross the Delaware River by ferry to see first-class theatrical performances.

Leading artists of the age appeared on the Camden stage, headlined by Julia Marlowe, Fred Frear, Annie Myers, and Mrs. John Drew, Sidney Drew, McKee Rankin, Isadore Rush, J.K. Emmett, Annie Pixley, Charles B. Hanford, and many more. Julia Marlowe and her Shakespearian repertoire filled the house eight consecutive nights in 1893, while Harrigan's Irish comedy and vaudeville also packed the theater. Another local favorite of the 1890s remained Uncle Tom's Cabin, particularly since during one series of shows, promoters ran at intermission a three round boxing match between the Australian champion and Battling Joe Choynski. 

The Temple Theater also served as the home of Camden's Masonic community until 1913, when their new Temple was built at 31 North 4th Street. The building later was the home of the Camden Commercial College, and was open for business as a movie house as late as January of 1928.

Camden Lodge. No. 293 of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks was instituted January 24, 1895, with a membership including judges, lawyers, physicians, merchants, manufacturers, artisans and city and county officials. The organization meeting was held on the third floor of the Temple Theater.

Labor unions in Camden also occasionally used the Temple for large meetings.

The Temple Theater was razed to make way for the United States Post Office and Court House that presently sits at the corner of North 4th and Market Street.

Thanks to Jane Hamilton for research on the Temple Theater

Philadelphia Inquirer - June 19, 1891

Jesse Pratt - South 4th Street - Kaighn Avenue
Line Street - West Street - Broadway
J. Hermann - 
Temple Theater - David Baird Sr.
William Kemble - Delaware Avenue
Baltic House
Market Street - Henry George - John Woodhull

Temple Bar
and the
Temple Theatre

400 Block
Market Street

1890s Photograph

The Temple Bar & Hotel
can be seen just beyond the
Temple Theater

Click on Image to Enlarge

played in
Trenton NJ
the following month in 1892

Ad from
October 12, 1892

Click on Image to Enlarge

Philadelphia Inquirer - January 6, 1895
Temple Theatre - West Jersey Hospital

Philadelphia Inquirer - May 1, 1896

Frederick A. Finkeldey - Temple Theatre

Philadelphia Inquirer - August 20, 1897

John Leighton Wescott - Frederick A. Rex
George Fithian -
Temple Theatre

Philadelphia Inquirer - May 18, 1899
Temple Theatre
Camden Lodge 293 Benevolent Protective Order of Elks




They Played at the Temple Theatre - 1892-1893

Annie Pixley Charles B. Hanford Roland Reed
Mrs. John Drew McKee Rankin Sidney Drew

Miss Isadore Rush
Julia Marlowe 

Postcard of the Masonic Temple & Theater
Click on Images to Enlarge

Philadelphia Inquirer
February 9, 1917

Temple Building - Augustus Reeve
Robert Patterson Finley - N.F. Thompson
Joseph Kobus - Mary Walsh Kobus 
Walter Tushingham - A.W. Atkinson
Dr. Walter H. Smith - Miss Elizabeth Reed

advertising the
Camden Commercial College

Click on Image to Enlarge


January 7, 1928

Camden Courier-Post * January 27, 1928

Local Theatrical Company Improving
Under Direction of George A. Oberst

Camden Morning Post
November 21, 1930

North 4th Street
Market Street
Markley Place

John Stoer
Louis Katz
The Temple Bar - Jennie Gondolf
T. Yorke Smith & John Rand
The Temple Building
John H. Heaton
John Dick
Alice M. Wesley
Louis Berkowitz

Post Office & Federal Building

Here are a few Temple Theater memories from long-time Camden Courier-Post reporter  and columnist Dan McConnell.

Camden Courier-Post

June 7, 1939