The story of a house in Camden's 8th Ward
Fillmore & Jackson Streets

In September of 2003, a co-worker, Loretta Wilson, asked me if I could find out anything about the house she grew up in, and in the course of doing that I took a look at the neighbors as well..... when you look at a row houses, one by definition has to take into consideration the row!

Using tools available online and at the Camden County Historical Society, I took a few notes, and with Loretta adding a few of her memories from growing up in the neighborhood, this admittedly incomplete look at 1605 Fillmore Street and the houses adjacent to and across the street emerged.

In December of 2008, Loretta informed me that the house had burned to the ground. Over the years she had mentioned Charlie and Ann Skabicki, an elderly couple who lived across the street while she was growing up,  and how much she missed them. A few weeks later Loretta sent me her story, which you will find below.

If you have any comments, corrections, or photographs that you would like me to add, PLEASE e-mail me. Like everything else on, this page is a work in progress.

Phil Cohen
 Camden NJ
January 25, 2009

1605 Fillmore Street

October 1, 2003

Click on Image to Enlarge


Fillmore street was laid out at some point after 1869. It first appears in Camden's city directories in 1878.

 The John W. Mickle School was built on South 6th Street, below Van Hook Street in the late 1870s, one of three identical schools designed by architect Stephen D. Button and erected by builder Mahlon E. Harden. Fillmore Street's children would attend this school for many years. 


The 1887-1888 and 1888-1889 Camden City Directories show that a Frederick Miller lived here. His occupation was listed as "moulder", and that he worked in Philadelphia.


The 1890-1891 Camden City Directory shows that Benjamin F. Fish lived at 1605 Fillmore Street, working as a fireman at the Cottrell & Wolfenden hosiery factory at 613 Van Hook Street, which was owned by David Cottrell of Hammonton NJ, and J. Lincoln Wolfenden of 613 Broadway in Camden. This had already been established by 1887, and employed primarily women from the neighborhood. 

A Benjamin F. Fish had lived in East Camden in 1880, working as a farmer. Born in October of 1841, he had married Susannah Cox in 1863, and by the time of the 1880 census had three children, Laura Lavinia, Idella, and Howard Frank Fish. He was working as farmer. Benjamin F. Fish had moved to 220 Silver Lake Avenue in Westville NJ, listing his occupation as farmhand. Benjamin Franklin Fish passed away October 5, 1920, survived by his wife. He was buried at Bethel Cemetery in Pennsauken NJ.

Another individual named Benjamin Franklin Fish appears in the 1920 Census. This person was 53 at the time of the census, and was working as an foreman of electricians at one of the shipyards along the Camden-Gloucester waterfront. This person would have been 23 at the time of the compilation of the 1890 Camden City Directory, and well may have parlayed his mechanical experience in operating the boilers at Cottrell & Wolfenden into electricity. This Benjamin Fish lived at 20 Reeve Avenue in Haddonfield with wife Ella and his family. A son, Benjamin F. Fish Jr., lived next door at 12 Reeve Avenue, and worked as an electrician under his father. 


By 1920 the house at 1605 Fillmore is owned by Peter Pea, who had emigrated from what is now Slovakia in 1894. 51 at the time that the census was taken, Peter Pea was working as a bolter in a local shipyard, most likely the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, just a few blocks south from his home. He married his wife Mary shortly after she came to America from Slovakia in 1906.

The household in 1920 included wife Mary, then 46, and daughters Elizabeth, 13, and Mary, 12. A nephew also resided in the home, Martin Gardner, then 21. Martin Gardiner had come to America from Slovakia in 1913, and worked with peter Pea as a bolter in the shipyard.

Next door at 1603 Fillmore in 1920 are William and Josephine Hornung, and at 1607 Mrs. Ellen Friar, an Irish born widow with two daughters, Rebecca and Sarah, and two sons, Joseph and John Friar. At the end of the block, at 1639 Fillmore, lived William and Mary Hinkson, and their son Raymond. At 1613 Fillmore lived Maurice and Clara Sommers; John and Mary Carr and their chuildren had moved into 1625. 


An annex was built on the the John W. Mickle School, at 1710 Fillmore Street, where children from the neighborhood went to school. The original John W. Mickle School was built in 1875, at the same time that the Dr. Isaac Mulford and Richard M. Fetters Schools were built. The original school was, like Fetters, a two story brown stone building. Shipyard owner John H. Dialogue was instrumental in the building of the three schools. The original Mickle School is long gone, and the Annex became the Creative Arts High School in 1999.


At the time of the 1930 census the house has been rented to John Martin, a 39 year old laborer at the Campbell Soup factory. He had come to America in 1920 from Austria. Mr. Martin was renting rooms at the time census was taken.

The Friar family was still living next door at 1607 Fillmore, although son Joseph had moved out. John Friar was working odd jobs at the time, he briefly would operate the bar at 1050 Mechanic Street in South Camden in the mid 1930s. The Novak family, Casper and Rebecca and their two young sons, Edward and Frank, had moved in across the street at 1604 Fillmore.

John and Mary Carr still lived at 1625 Fillmore Street. Their son,  Technician Fifth Class Michael Carr, was lost during Worlds War II, one of 1,015 American servicemen lost when the HMT Rohna was sunk by German guided missile on November 27, 1943. Five other men from Camden were also lost when the Rohna went down, Private Frank Ballerino, of 2004 South 10th Street, Corporal Steven V. Koscianski, of 966 Bulson Street, Private Michael Yachus, 679 Ferry Avenue, Private First Class Joseph H. Johnson, 1273 South Merrimac Road, and Sergeant Sergeant Lewis A. Riondino of 1474 South 4th Street.

William Hinkson had passed away. Mary Hinkson had moved to Cramer Hill, and was operating a cafe on River Road. She would later operated, with her son Raymond, Hinkson's Cafe at 3014 Marlton Pike, from the 19309s through the mid-1950s.


According to the 1947 Camden City Directory, both 1603 and 1605 were vacant.

The Casper A. Novak family still lived across the street at 1604 Fillmore. Charles and Anna Skabicki had moved in at 1606. Charles was one of four brothers. Anthony and Stanley both lived in the neighborhood, brother Leon Skabicki had died while a prisoner of the Japanese in Manchuria in December of 1944. 

Rebecca and Sarah Friar had both married, and still lived on the block. Roy Trachsel had married Sarah Friar, and Rebecca Friar was also still on the block.  

1600 Fillmore Street - October 1, 2003


The Wilson family moved to 1605 Fillmore Street around 1968, Daughter Loretta got to know many of the elderly residents on the block, some of whom had been living there 50 years or more. The Wilson family would remain at 1605 through the mid 1980s.

The Novak and Skabicki families were still on the block, as were Roy and Sarah Trachsel, and Rebecca Friar and her husband. 

1600 Block of Fillmore Street - October 1, 2003
1602 to 1624 Fillmore Street 1605 to 1615 Fillmore Street
Click on Image to Enlarge


Some of the homes mentioned above still house families on Fillmore Street. A few are vacant, others have been torn down. The Wilson family home at 1605 Fillmore is still a cheery home, with Halloween decorations already up on October 1st. 1604 Fillmore, the Novak house, is boarded up, but 1606 and 1607 are still occupied and seem in good repair, as is 1613. 1625, where the Carr family lived, has been razed. 

1600 Fillmore Street - October 1, 2003

December 2008 

Sadly, the cheery home at 1605 Fillmore was lost to fire, and is no more.... as a building. It still lives on in memory, and hopefully by telling the story of this home and this block it will remain alive beyond the times of you and I. 

I Remember Charlie and Ann Skabicki
by Loretta Wilson - January 2009