224 Market Street

The Columbia Hotel operated at the turn of the century at 224 Market Street. August Hettmannsperger had opened up his lager beer saloon by 1887, according to the city directory of that year. By the turn of the century his establishment had bloomed into a full scale hotel, serving meals. August Hettmansperger was running the Columbia Hotel as late as 1904, according to City Directories. 

The Hettmannsperger family was involved in several business in Camden in the 1880s and 1890s. Most notable was Frederick Hettmansperger, who was a telegraph instrument maker, residing at 810 Market Street

By 1905 the Hettmanspergers were gone. Thomas Wilson is shown operating the business in 1905. John P. "Jack" Scannell had the bar in 1906 through 1909, and for much of this time W. Harry Smith tended bar there. Walter J. Ott traded there from 1910 through at least 1913. The bar was run by John Reilly in the years 1915 through 1924 according to Camden City Directories. From 1924 through 1932, the bar operated as the Victor Hotel, under the proprietorship of William J. Sheehan. who ran it under a "soft drink" license, i.e., he sold low alcohol content near beer. In June of 1932 Sheehan was fined and sentenced to three months in jail for operating a speakeasy. Six half-barrels of beer and 11 gallons of hard liquor had been found in a raid the previous April. 

When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, a liquor license was obtained for the premises, and by 1936 the bar was known as the Hi Hattter's Club. Owners Tom Mayer and Herb Marker actively promoted their establishment. They employed John "Jack" Miko as a bartender, who was quite popular.

The bar is listed as the Hi Hattter's Club in the 1940 and 1943 Camden City Directories. There is no listing in the 1947 Camden City Directory, but 224 Market Street appears in the 1956 New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory as the High Hat Club. By 1959 the bar had changed hands and changed names, and was known as the Bell Bar. The Bell Bar remained open through at least 1984.

The 200 block of Market Street was razed and redeveloped in the late 1980s or early 1990s.

January 1901

Philadelphia Inquirer - November 29, 1898

Samuel S. Elfreth - John H. Chew - August HettmanspergerColumbia Hotel - Market Street

1906 Camden City Directory Ad