CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
FLAT IRON HOTEL
Northwest Corner of Broadway & Ferry Avenue
There was a bar on the triangular lot of Broadway and Ferry Avenue as early as 1873. The Camden Fire Department under Chief Fire Marshall Henry Surault placed a fire extinguisher there around 1873. James Stanley was in the bar business at this location from 1887 through at last 1890.
Taking its name from the similarly shaped Flatiron Building in New York, the Flat Iron Hotel was run from 1903 to April of 1906 by Owen Kernan. In April of 1906 the license was transferred to Isaac Kline, who previously had operated a grocery at 300 Mechanic Street. Isaac Kline had come to America from Russia in 1887. He wed around 1894. When the Census was taken in 1900 he, with wife Fannie and daughter Florence, lived at 308 Mechanic Street in Camden. he then was working as a pocketbook maker. He soon went into business, operating the grocery at 300 Mechanic Street which previously had been run by Isaac Cohen. Two more children would follow in the early 18900s, Sadie and Herman.
After operating for nine years without a hint of trouble, Isaac Kline was arrested along with several other bar-owners in 1914. Charged with operating a "disorderly house" and for selling liquor to minors, Isaac Kline was sentenced to six months in the county jail. After serving his sentence he remained in business at Broadway and Ferry Avenue as a cigar store, his liquor license having been surrendered. By 1918 the bar opened again, under the management of John Olsen, and remained in operation into 1919. Prohibition, however, would force the Flat Iron to close forever.
The building was the home of the South Camden Trust Company bank from 1921 until its new building was opened at 1800 Broadway in 1926, after which time several business occupied the premises through at least the early 1950s. After the building was demolished, the triangular location became the site of a small park.
|Camden Post-Telegram - May 11, 1914|
KLINE, TOO, GETS SIX MONTHS
Prominent Eighth Ward Hotel Keeper Must Also Pay a Fine of $500
MANY TELL COURT OF HIS GOOD CHARACTER
Isaac Kline, proprietor of the Flat Iron Hotel at Broadway and Ferry Avenue, who pleaded guilty to a charge of selling to minors and keeping a disorderly house, was today sentenced to six months in the county jail and fined $500 by Judge Boyle. Immediately after sentence was pronounced Kline was taken upstairs to the county jail to begin his term.
Before sentence was imposed, Kline’s attorney, Judge W.C. French, called on fifty prominent residents and business men of the Eighth Ward as character witnesses. Stating that he would not attempt to disprove the character of the defendant, Prosecutor Kraft informed the court that the facts in the case are similar to those in the other cases.
Judge French made an appeal for clemency for Kline. He said that the saloon business is like a railroad crossing- very dangerous. A person handling liquor is like one handling a deadly explosive. Counsel said that Kline had conduted business at the place for nine years and so careful was he that not a whisper was raised against him. He said that when the clean up in Philadelphia came that the trouble started.
Kline went to an Excise Commissioner and asked him what to do. This city official informed him to keep a register. He then engaged a bartender and it was then that he lost part of the control of his business. If Kline was guilty it was only of negligent conduct. Continuing, Judge French said:
“If you send him to jail, you endanger his life. He is under the care of Professor Wilson, a specialist, has been ill for four years.”
At the conclusion of Judge French’s appeal for clemency Judge Boyle ordered Kline to stand up, and in imposing sentence the Court said:
“In doing justice we have to treat everyone alike. Your sentence is six months in the county jail and pay a fine of $500.”
In the Background
The bank moved to opposite corner at 1800 Broadway in 1926.
Click on Image to Enlarge
Leo's Pharmacy at 1801 Broadway is in the foreground at right. This photograph taken June 15, 1952.
The Bars, Taverns, and Clubs of Camden
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