CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY

DICK'S CAFE
1000 N. 27th Street
North 27th & River Avenue

August W. "Augie" Oswald Jr. was the licensee for the bar at 1000 N. 27th Street in 1939. Born in Pennsylvania, his family came to the Cramer Hill when he was young. By 1920 he had married, and owned a home at 2802 Buren Street. At the time of the 1920 census he was working as a caulker in a shipyard, probably the Noecker, Rickenbach and Ake Shipyard which was across the street from his home. Augie Oswald and family were still at 2802 Buren Street in 1930, and then working in the coal business. 2802 Buren Street would be the home of Jimmy's Tavern from the 1940s through the 1970s. Augie Oswald Jr. still kept a residence there as late as 1959. He moved to Cape May NJ sometime after 1959, where he passed away in September of 1970.

Shortly after the liquor license was renewed in June of 1939, the bar was sold to the Bowen family. Charles and Florence Bowen operated the business, which they named after their son, Richard G. "Dick" Bowen. Apparently the Bowens had some fun with the compilers of the City Directories published in the 1940s, as the 1940 Camden City Directory shows that the bar at 1000 River Road was being run by Richard G. Bowen. The 1943 Directory does shows Charles Bowen there, while the 1947 Directory states that address as housing Dick's Cafe, and Richard and Anna C. Bowen were operating the establishment. The 1947 Directory does list Charles and Florence Bowen residing at 720 North 7th Street in North Camden, and that Charles Bowen was a tavern operator.

While the bar does not appear in New Jersey Bell telephone directories in 1956 or later, it remained in business after changing hands. In the 1950s and 1960s the bar was known as the Rio Bar, taking its name from the adjacent Rio Theater on River Road. The Rio Bar is though to have closed in the 1970s.

While the building still stands, and apparently is used as a private residence or as apartments, I do not believe a bar has operated there in many years. 

Dick's Cafe

September 22, 2003

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Thanks to Cliff Griffith, who grew up in Cramer Hill, for helping out with this page.

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