CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY

NIEWINSKI'S CAFE
400 Mechanic Street

One of two bars in Camden that were known as Niewinski's Cafe, this bar was at 400 Mechanic Street. Domenico Palese, father of Camden's first Italian-American attorney, Rocco Palese, had the bar in 1910. He had moved to 900 South 4th Street by June of  1917. According to the 1918-1919 Camden City Directory, Anthony Niewinski was operating the bar before Prohibition. Anthony Niewinskli appears to have passed away prior to 1926. Licensed again when Prohibition was repaealed in 1933, the bar was run by Leon and Mary Niewinski in South Camden during the 1930s and 1940s. The other Niewinski's Cafe was at 1898 River Road in Camden's Cramer Hill section, and was owned and operated in the 1940s through at least 1959 by Benjamin C. Niewinski and his wife Clara, and later by Benjamin A. Niewinski.  

By 1959 the bar was called the Hi-Lite Tavern and it was listed in the 1970 New Jersey Bell telephone directory. By the late 1970s the bar was known as the Disco Lounge. Telephone directories from 1981 to 1982 list the establishment as the Holiday Inn Lounge. No bar has operated at that location for many years.  

Leon Niewinski later lived in Haddonfield NJ. He passed away in March of 1976.

400 Mechanic they all called Skinny's. My grandfather Rest his Soul, would take to 1 or other to get a growler {pitcher} of cold beer for my father and himself. Giovanni Cianfrani (nee Brown) was a laborer and he got so much pleasure suprising my father with that cold beer-

John Cianfrani
November 2003

I was born [at 1463 South 4th Street] from this address in 1938. I also lived at 406 Mechanic Street and have a picture of it when it was a dry cleaners. I remember the bar at 400 Mechanic Street. being called "Mommy Scullbuster's". My dad took me in there to see the Joe Louis vs. Jersey Joe Wolcott fight on TV.-

Richard J. "Dick" Chamberlin Jr.
June 2012

Camden Courier-Post
Evening Courier - September 17, 1934

 ORLANDO ASSUMES CHARGE OF VICE WAR
Prosecutor Directs Cleanup and Pushes Probe of Feitz Murder

 Prosecutor Samuel P. Orlando today dropped all other duties and took personal charge of the drive to rid Camden city and county of vice.

Orlando announced he would concentrate his activities in the drive against crime and te solution of the murder of Detective William T. Feitz Jr., slain two weeks ago in a South Camden disorderly house.

“I hope to gather enough evidence to go before the grand jury within the next week or 10 days,” Orlando said. “The Feitz murder investigation is progressing and I hope to have sufficient facts before me soon that will enable is to apprehend the slayers.”

Weekend developments in the general drive against crime resulted in the raiding of at least 30 gambling houses, illicit saloons, and alcohol stills with police spurred to feverish activity by Mayor Roy R. Stewart’s probe of the department, which he said will end this week, unless new evidence develops to extend it.

Blair Release Sought

 Meanwhile, Edward V. Martino, council for Michael Tenerelli, alias Mickey Blair, former boxer, announced his intention of appearing before Judge Frank F. Neutze today to apply for a writ of habeas corpus to effect the release of Blair, held as the “key witness” in the Feitz slaying.

“Prosecutor Orlando had demanded $10,000 for the release of Blair,” Martino said. “That amount is ridiculously high. When I asked Orlando why his office required such excessive bail, he told me ‘I have to back up the police’”.

 Martino said he would demand the prosecutor show in court the reason for the “unreasonable demand”.

Lieutenant Walter Welch, new commander of the Second Police District, conducted an intensive cleanup of his bailiwick over Saturday and Sunday, raiding 25 alleged violators of liquor and gambling laws.

Aided by state alcohol agents, police raiders headed by Lieutenant George Frost uncovered two 50-gallon stills and a bullet-riddled target in two apparently abandoned houses at 531 and 533 South 2nd Street. An advance “tip-off” had caused operators of the stills to flee, police said.

Two alcohol “drops”, believed operated by the proprietors of the South 2nd Street houses, were visited but found empty.

Numbers Baron Nabbed

Marshall Howard, 33, of 1912 Derousse avenue, Delair, described by Prosecutor Orlando as a ‘big shot’ in the Pennsauken and Camden numbers racket, was arrested Saturday when he visited the court house to make inquiries concerning an unnamed woman under arrest as a numbers writer.

A short while later, at the request of Orlando, Lucille Barber, 35, of 8302 Park avenue, Pennsauken township, and John Barnes, 26, of 7508 Pleasant avenue, Pennsauken township, both colored, were arrested as numbers writers.

It was reported at Pennsauken township police headquarters that the pair was wanted in connection with the case against Howard.

Both were held in $1000 bail for the grand jury.

Those who were held without bail as material witnesses in the Feitz case are Cornelius Murphy, 50, of 239 Sycamore Street, doorkeeper in the establishment; Edward Grapatin, 32, of 246 Kaighn Avenue; Joseph McKenna, 31, of 1404 Broadway; Katherine Lougheed, 32, of 626 Pine Street; Edna Butler, 33, colored, of 1122 South 2nd Street, and Joan Stein, 24, of Philadelphia. Six others were released in their own recognizance as material witnesses.

They are Sam Silverman, 34, of 325˝ Kaighn Avenue; Edward Gorba, 20, who has supplied police with most of the information about Feitz’ death, and Gorba’s brother, Henry, 19, of 17 South 21st Street; Joseph McDonald, 20, of 1605 South 9th Street; Edith Miller, 28, colored, of 205 Sycamore Street, and George Martorano, 25, of 532 West Street.

Aided by Patrolmen William Marter and Carmin Fuscellaro Sr., Lieutenant Welch conducted a series of raids Saturday night and yesterday morning. The saloon of Mary Niewinski, at 400 Mechanic Street, was raided early yesterday and two customers arrested.

Lieutenant Welch Leads Raiders

Welch, who took over the duties Lieutenant Ralph Bakley when the latter was suspended by Mayor Stewart yesterday, declared he was seeking violators of the city’s Sunday closing ordinance, which states that places selling liquor must close “between the hours of 2:00 AM Sunday and 7:00 AM Monday.”

Nickelson Lehger, 49, of 311 Somerset Street, Gloucester and George Burkett, 38, of 340 Liberty Street, were arrested in Mrs. Niewinski's place. Welch said they were shooting craps on the bar. Mrs. Niewinski was released in $500 bail as proprietor and the men were released in $100 bail each as frequenters.

The three were arrested on Welch's second visit yesterday, he said. The first time he ordered Mrs. Niewinski to close her place, but on his second visit, he found the men gambling, he said.

Welch and his squad visited a house at 1903 South 6th Street, reputedly operated by William Tansky, 33. Tansky, charged with violating the closing ordinance, was released in $500 bail as proprietor, and Edward Krown, 65, of 1705 South 4th Street; Edward Judd, 41, of 721 Ferry Avenue; and William Sampey, of 729 South 10th Street, charged with being frequenters, were released in $100 bail.

Saloon Raided

A saloon operated by Helen Brass, 52, at 1067  Ferry Avenue, scene of an unsuccessful holdup attempt Friday, was next raided. Frank Dipeto, 42, of 829 Sylvan Street; Edward Podyezmek, 47, of 783 South 2nd Street; Joseph Orbin, 53, of 963 Florence Street; and Angelo Del Rossi, 70, of 430 Emerald Street, were arrested and held as frequenters. Mrs. Brass was charged with violating the closing ordinance.

The establishment of Mitchell Lambert, 26, at 1427 South 9th Street was next visited. Lambert, held as proprietor was released in $500 bail. Florian Shepecarter, 36, of 2811 Yorkship Road; John Glenn, 35, of 52 Courtland Street; Paul Korzewszeski, 34, of 1041 Atlantic Avenue; and William Lanning, 37, of 1149 South 9th Street were all nabbed as frequenters.

At 1025 South 2nd Street, Welch and his men found four colored men and women, and Meg Mack, 38, colored, who was charged with being proprietor. The four gave their names as Alvin Mack, of the South 2nd Street address; Howard Elinor, 30, of 215 Chestnut Street; and Alice Wells and Emily Robinson, 28, of the same address. All were held for hearing today.

Welch declared he was unable to enter some of the places visited because he did not hold warrants. He said he would procure warrants today and return to several of the places. In the other instances where raids were made, Welch did not reveal the addresses or names.

Welch announced last night he is not seeking “personal notoriety” through his activities, but is merely doing his duty as a police officer. He declared “the lid has been clamped on the second District and will stay on.”

Mayor Stewart commended Welch's activities, and declared he will recommend suspension of liquor licenses in all the places where violations were uncovered.

State Police Stage Raid

Thirteen were arrested by a detail of state troopers from the Mt. Ephraim and Berlin barracks when a raid was staged on the home of Dominick Melchiore, 28, at Cedar Avenue, Blenheim.

Melchiore was charged with operating a gambling establishment. Arraigned before Justice of the peace Charles Jackson at Runnemede, he was fined $5 and costs. Charles Darpino, 26, a Camden man among those arrested, gave his address as 306 Chestnut Street. He and the 11 others were fined $3 each and costs.

The police raiders who uncovered the two stills and riddled target at 533 South 2nd Street also visited the home of Charles Auletto, 20 South 2nd Street. Auletto, charged with selling illegal liquor, denied knowledge f the stills, but was held on $1000 bail for the grand jury by Police Judge J. Harry Switzer.

Two men were fined $25.00 each last night in Pennsauken township police court by Recorder George E. Yost on slot machine gambling charges.

Arthur Pipher, 25, of 2248 North 36th Street, Camden, was charged with placing slot machines in various stores for gambling purposes, and Edward Friedberg, operator of a medicine store at Park and Union Avenues, Pennsauken was charged with possession of a slot machine. Friedberg announced he would appeal his conviction.

It was testified that he offered merchandise as prizes in conjunction with operation of the device.

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