Eugene
Widmann Sr.


 

EUGENE WIDMANN SR. was born in Germany in 1879. Sometime after the birth of his some Eugene Jr. in 1903 he came to Camden NJ, where he became the proprietor of a saloon 952 North Front Street, the corner of Front and Erie Streets. In those years this was a prime location, given the number of factories and shipyards in the immediate vicinity. When the Census was taken in 1910 the Widmann family included wife Jennie L. Ford Widmann and another son, Walter, aged 8. Another child had been born to the Widmanns, but had not survived. Besides the bar, the Widmann's let rooms, and at that time John Feitz and Adolph Lodholz, who both worked at a nearby leather factory, most likely the John R. Evans & Co. factory, lodged there. 

When Prohibition was enacted in 1919 Eugene Widmann remained open selling cigarettes and soda, it is unclear whether he maintained a soft drink license in order to sell near beer. By April of 1930 Eugene Jr. had married, and with wife Agnes had moved around the corner to 948 Howard Street. Walter Widmann was still single and at home. Both Widmann sons were then working as machinists. Two of Jennie's brothers, James and Benjamin, and a teenaged nephew Thomas Ford, were also living at 952 North Front Street, along with a boarder, William Wright, another leather factory worker. Jennie Ford Widmann died in 1935, and was buried at New Camden Cemetery.

When Prohibition ended, Eugene Widmann Sr. had his liquor license reinstated. He conducted business at his bar until his passing in 1946. His son Walter carried the business forward after his father's death. He eventually moved to Sea Isle City, where he died in September of 1973.

Sadly, Eugene Widmann Jr. had died the previous year. When the 1947 Camden City Directory was compiled, his widow Agnes was still living at 948 Howard Street, along with her sons Eugene III and Walter Widman II. Walter was then in school while Eugene was running the ice business his late father had founded. By 1949 George Engel, who had a bar for many years in Cramer Hill, was operatring the Widmann family's bar. During the mid to late 1950s 952 North Front was known as the Erie Cafe, and also became known around that time as the Frontier Playhouse. The bar was long gone by the 1970s, and the building no longer stands.

The Widmann family has made its mark in recent years in the golf industry.



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