CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
also known as Sherman's Cafe
601 South 4th Street
Southwest Corner of South 4th & Royden Street
601 South 4th Street was not listed a s a bar in the 1918-1919 Camden City Directory, however, a Giulio Cinelli was operating a saloon there, as evidenced by the 1920 Census and a 1921 Camden business directory. Giulio Cinelli had left the bar business and moved to Haddon Heights NJ by April of 1930. It is very possible that he was one of the Cinelli's who opened Cinelli's Country House on Haddonfield Road in what was then Delaware Township in 1935. By 1926 Giacinto Sciamanna was running the bar.
The 1926 Camden City Directory and the 1930 Federal Census shows a "George" Sciamannna selling soft drinks and operating a "lunch room" at this address. This was Giacinto Sciamanna. Prohibition was then the law, and a listing as a tavern was of course ill-advised. 601 South 4th appears as a tavern in the 1947 Camden City Directory as Sciamanna's Cafe. However, the family went by the name Sherman during the World War II years and for several years thereafter, and 1952 picture shows a sign at the bar's entrance reading Sherman's Cafe. The 1959 New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory lists the property under Giacinto Sciamanna, selling "soft drinks", and the bar does not appear in the Yellow Pages under taverns.
Giacinto Sciamanna was born in Italy on June 4, 1886. He came to the United States in 1901, and later became an American citizen. At the time of the 1930 Census, he was living at 601 South 4th Street, with wife Matilda, and children Dante, Domenico, Guerino "Woody", Rosa, Anna, and Antonio. The family lived behind and over the bar. By 1970 there Sciamannas had all moved from Camden, except for Rosa, who lived with her husband Al in Fairview. Giacinto Sciamanna moved to Audubon with his son Woody, and then to his daughter Anna's home in Bordentown NJ. He passed away in April of 1972.
601 South 4th Street reappears as a tavern in the 1978 New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory as the Spanish-American Cafe. This listing was continued until 1981. The again reappears in the 1983 Directory as Chic's Cafe.
South 4th and Royden Streets became a notorious drug corner in the 1980s. When photographed in 2003, the building was vacant and boarded up, and appeared to have been vacant for many, many years. A two-alarm fire was put out on November 2, 2008.
|Photos from Sciamanna's Cafe|
Behind the Bar
Click on Images to Enlarge
Behind the Bar
Click on Images to Enlarge
|The Sciamanna Family - circa 1934|
right to left Guerino (Woody), Domenico, Dante, and two maternal aunts;
Sitting: Anna, Matilda, Antonio, Giacinto, Rosa.
The Wedding of Frank Albanese & Anna Sciamanna
My Dad, Frank Yocolano was a musician (sax player) as well as a sheet metal worker until he passed away in 1988. At one point in the 50's he worked at Warren Webster's until he got a job at Edgecomb Steel in 1963. His best friend was a fellow named Woody Sherman (Sciamanna) who was a trombone player. His Dad had a bar on 4th and Royden.
Woody told a story of Marco Reginelli who took numbers and hung at the bar. My old man was quite a drinker at 9 while tapping my Grandpop's wine barrels with his uncle Leo Doria and was hanging around the bar when a ragged black man came into the bar asking for food. As the story went Marco said "so you're really hungry huh?" The man replied "yes". The locals at the bar knew that the guy would be in serious trouble if he wasn't. Marco said "give him a bowl of tripe" which Mr. Sherman served up and Marco offered him a glass of wine which he gratefully took. When he finished Marco asked "are you still hungry" and the man said "yes, I am" and Mr. Sherman gave him another large bowl of tripe with bread and he ate it all.
When he was done Marco said "you have a lotta guts walking in here for a handout" and reached into his pocket and handed the man $50. and told him "I don't ever want to see you in here again".
I never read anything about Marco until tonight and my Pop's story was told to me on several occasions. Later in life my Pop mentioned that Marco was a major racketeer but obviously had a kind streak.
Thanks to Frank Albanese, grandson of Giacinto Sciamanna, for providing photographs and information. Thanks also to Pat Yocolano, for his remembrances of this bar.
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