Camden, NJ


THORNDYKE STREET, which appears on some maps as Thorndyke Avenue, and in early City Directories as Thorndike Avenue, lies east of Baird Boulevard and runs north from the Admiral Wilson Boulevard to Marlton Avenue, after which it is called Benson Street. Although it is eight blocks long and serves is one one of the main streets that run from the Boulevard straight through to Marlton Avenue, there are no addresses on Thorndyke Street as all of the corner properties front onto the cross streets.

Thorndyke Street, as Thorndike Avenue, first appears in Camden City Directories in 1904, running from Woolwich Avenue, which existed only on planners' maps and South 27th Street. The 1906 Sanborn Map refers to Benson Street between Marlton Avenue and South 27th Street as Thorndyke Avenue. It appears that when what is now the Admiral Wilson Boulevard was built in the 1920s, the right of way for Woolwich Avenue was utilized for the boulevard project.

Thorndyke Street street sadly has been the site of a great deal of drug trafficking, especially at the Morse Street intersection, and more than a few killings.

Do you have an Thorndyke Street memory or picture? Let me know by e-mail so it can be included here.

 Phil Cohen


Intersection of Admiral Wilson Boulevard & Thorndyke Street

Intersection of Maplewood Avenue & Thorndyke Street

Intersection of Randolph Street & Thorndyke Street
  Thorndyke & Randolph Street
July 7, 1904

Matthew Dunlap shot to death by Oscar Young
Thorndyke & Randolph Street
July 9, 1904

Intersection of Raritan Street & Thorndyke Street
Suspect Shot By Police In Camden

By John Way Jennings and Ralph Cipriano
Inquirer Staff Writer

A Camden police officer shot a 22-year-old Maryland man in the back early yesterday morning, moments after police had disarmed him during a struggle on an East Camden street, authorities said.

Nathaniel Johnson of Upper Marlboro was listed in stable condition in the trauma unit at Cooper Hospital-University Medical Center in Camden, said Helene Zehnder, assistant director of nursing. She declined further comment.

Authorities released only sketchy details of the incident yesterday.

According to police reports, Patrolmen Frank Upshaw and Anthony Davenport spotted Johnson about 1:30 a.m. as he allegedly used a gun to smash the window of a Dodge Aries station wagon parked at the corner of Raritan Street and Thorndike Avenue.

Johnson, who was carrying an unloaded .357-caliber Cobra handgun, was disarmed by police after a struggle. But moments later, he made a "furtive move" that appeared as if he was reaching for another gun, and was shot by Upshaw, said George Kerns, a spokesman for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.

Kerns and police declined to disclose the identity of the victim, but a hospital spokesman identified him as Johnson.

Camden Police Chief Bob Pugh would not comment on the case, which is being investigated by the department's Internal Affairs Unit and the County Prosecutor's Office. Prosecutor Samuel Asbell could not be reached for comment.

Johnson was not charged last night, authorities said.

New Jersey authorities were checking with police in Prince George's County, Md., to determine whether Johnson was the same man wanted there on a theft warrant.

The owner of the station wagon, who asked that her name not be used, said she did not witness the shooting, which took place outside her home in the 400 block of Raritan.

"When I heard that gunshot, I lay down and got scared," she said. She said that when she went out in the street after the shooting, the man was ''whining like a baby." She declined to comment further, saying, "I don't want them after me."

Yesterday afternoon, a man was replacing the brake shoes on a jacked-up Thunderbird at the intersection where Johnson was shot. The man, who declined to give his name, said he was sleeping at the time of the shooting and ''didn't see anything." Other neighbors also said they did not witness the shooting, or declined to be interviewed.

On Thorndike Avenue, shards of glass were piled under the driver's side door of the white, wood-paneled station wagon. On the sidewalk, an investigator's chalk outline of a man's head and body were visible. In the grass nearby lay a bloody bandage.

One resident, Curtis Surratt, said the 500 block of Raritan was frequently used by drug dealers, whom he referred to as "knuckleheads." He said that police had made arrests on the block, but that drug traffic still was very steady.

"I could just walk by and point out people who have drugs" on them, said Surratt, a member of the Church of Christ in Darby. Once in a while, Surratt said, the police come and "they grab the knuckleheads just to make it look good."

But the drug sales renew soon after, he said.

Philadelphia Inquirer
November 12, 1989

Intersection of Pfeiffer Street & Thorndyke Street

Intersection of Rand Street & Thorndyke Street

Intersection of Boyd Street & Thorndyke Street

Intersection of Morse Street & Thorndyke Street

Intersection of Marlton Avenue & Thorndyke Street

Thorndyke Street becomes Benson Street