THE YEAR 1866

SPAN OF A CENTURY
1828-1928

100 YEARS IN THE HISTORY OF CAMDEN AS A CITY

COMPILED FROM NOTES ANDS DATA COLLECTED BY
CHARLES S. BOYER

PRESIDENT CAMDEN COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

PUBLISHED BY
CENTENNIAL ANNIVERSARY COMMITTEE
OF CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS AND NOTES BY PHILLIP COHEN IN 2003

The Kensington & New Jersey Ferry Co., Inc. operated its first boat The Shackamaxon on July 28, 1866 from the head of Point Street in Camden to Shackamaxon Street in Philadelphia. In May of 1880 this company was purchased by the Camden & Atlantic Railroad Company and boats were run from the railroad company’s new slips at the foot of Wood Street. The ferryboat The Shackamaxon was subsequently taken to New York to ply between that city and Ellis Island. She was badly damaged in a storm on June 6, 1893. 

9-1/2 Market Street

1880s-1900s A.C. Lamar
1880s-1900s Standard Window Glass Co. 

Horse cars furnished public transportation in Camden until 1896 when trolleys took aver. Seating about 25 persons, the cars were operated by Camden Horse Railroad Co., whose franchise was taken over by Public Service. In addition to destination signs, an advertisement was carried along the top. From the 1880s through at least 1906, Alonzo C. Lamar's paint supply business was on Market Street just east of Delaware Avenue, where RCA Victor buildings now stand. He also operated the Standard Window Glass Co. out of the same address. This photograph, from about 1881, was submitted to the Courier-Post in the 1950s by Mrs. S. E. Southard, of Wenonah.


The Camden Horse Railroad Company was chartered March 23, 1866. The company remained inactive so far as the laying of tracks was concerned until 1871. In October of that year Thomas S. Wilson was awarded to the contract to lay tracks from the Federal Street ferry to Fifth Street, to Newton Avenue, to Kaighn’s Point Avenue, to Fourth Street. Cars were operated on this portion on the line for the first time on November 25, 1871. The horse cars carried about 25 passengers.

Great Crowds along Federal Street that day greeted the first horse car to be operated by the company. In September of 1872 the line was extended on Kaighn’s Point Avenue from Fourth to Second Street and north on Second Street to Federal. In 1877 the road was further extended from Second Street to the Kaighn’s Point Ferry. The line on Market Street from the ferry to Tenth Street was opened on February 26, 1872. The line was subsequently continued to Wrightsville, known in modern times as 26th and Federal Street, where the terminal remained until the advent of electric cars. The North Second Street line was laid in 1872.

Horse cars were operated by Camden Horse Railroad Company until the 1890s. In addition to destination signs, an advertisement was carried along the top. From the 1880s through at least 1906, Alonzo C. Lamar's paint supply business was on Market Street just east of Delaware Avenue, where RCA Victor buildings now stand. He also operated the Standard Window Glass Co. out of the same address. 

Click on Image to Enlarge

The Camden Horse Railroad Company was one of the first car companies to take up the question of changing its motive power to electricity. The first city ordinance in this connection passed City Council on September 26, 1889, authorizing the company to erect poles and string wire along Market Street from the Ferry to Tenth Street, and thence east along Federal to 26th Street. This line was put into operation in June of 1890; and extended to Merchantville in September 1892, and thence to Moorestown in June of 1894.

In 1893 and 1894 a fight developed between a new organization- the West Jersey Traction Company, organized in May of 1893- and the old Horse Railroad Company, and the result was that lines were laid to all parts of the city as rapidly as permission could be obtained from City Council. The first electric cars were operated on Broadway April 2, 1894. The State Street line was opened in May of 1893. The South Second Street line began operation January 20, 1894. Electric cars on Haddon Avenue began operation as far as Harleigh Cemetery June 24, 1894. The “Crosstown” line was establish December 5, 1896. Other lines were opened from 1893 to 1898, and the double track line via Haddon Avenue was first used by Haddonfield cars on April 1, 1902.

Both the Camden Horse Railroad Company and the West Jersey Traction Company were absorbed in 1896 by the Camden & Suburban Railway Company. The control of this company was secured by the South Jersey Gas, Electric and Traction Company by a 999 year lease on May 2, 1904. The street railroad portion of this lease passed into the control of Public Service on September 30, 1907. The Public Service Building on Federal Street above Fourth was erected by the South Jersey, Gas, Electric and Traction Company and was occupied on September 30, 1901. This building has been the home of the Camden Free Public Library since the 1980s. 

Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church was organized March 29, 1866. Services were held in Odd Fellows Hall at 4th and Market Streets until completion of the Chapel, dedicated October 11, 1868. The main church at 5th and Cooper streets was dedicated on September 24, 1893

“Brace Road”, extending from 4th Street and Kaighn’s Point Avenue to Federal Street “near Cooper’s Creek bridge" was changed by City Council to Newton Avenue on April 29, 1866. 

The office of the American Telegraph Company, known in our times as Western Union, was located in 1866 in the office of the West Jersey Railroad at the foot of Bridge Avenue

Return to Camden NJ - The Span Of A Century - 1828-1928

RETURN TO DVRBS.COM HOMEPAGE