George Holl was born in 1840 in Pennsylvania to John George and Catherine Holl. John George Holl was baker by trade. The family had moved to Camden by 1851. John George Holl became a well known and much respected member of Camden's business community over the next 20 years.
George Holl served with in the Union army during the Civil War, and was noted for distinguished service. He enlisted as a Sergeant on April 25, 1861, on the 27th he was assigned to Company G, 4th New Jersey Infantry New Jersey Regiment. George Holl mustered out from Company G, 4th New Jersey Infantry Regiment on July 31, 1861 in Trenton, NJ. He appears on the roster as a Lieutenant 2nd Class, commissioned on June 17, 1863 with the Independent Company, 1st New Jersey Militia Infantry Regiment and his Civil War pension record also indicates service in the 6th New Jersey Infantry Regiment.
At the time of the 1870 Census, brother Lewis Holl, also a baker, had married and was the father of a daughter, Emma, while George, still at home with his parents, was the proprietor of a "gent's furnishings store". Also at home were his sister Louisa, 19 and brother Charles, 17. John George Holl passed away in September of 1871 at the age of 66. The family at that time lived at 910 South 3rd Street, the corner of South 3rd Street and Joint Alley.
A newspaper article from July of 1874 shows George M. Holl living at 706 South 5th Street. The 1876 and 1877 City Directories have the Holl family at 516 Line Street. From 1878 to 1881 City Directorues show the family at 611 Broadway.
When the 1880 Census was taken two siblings were also at home, younger brother Charles and younger sister Louisa Holl, who married in 1872.
George Holl married Laura Stockton in June of 1873. They had three sons who died in infancy. By 1880 George and Lewis Holl went into real estate and construction.
In 1886, George Reeser Prowell wrote of George Holl, in his book History of Camden County, New Jersey:
George Holl, who has been engaged in building for eighteen years, has erected from four to five hundred houses, principally in the central part of the city. They are nearly all of what may be denominated the medium class, in size and pretensions. His brother, Lewis F. Holl, has built many houses in the lower part of town.
The 1887-1888 directory for Camden shows George Holl at the corner of Broadway and Benson Street, and the directory for 1888-1889 has him at 310 Broadway. Lewis F. Holl lived with his wife Willimina, daughter Emma, and newborn son Arthur at 328 Mount Vernon Street. Emma Holl was then working as a school teacher. Their widowed mother Catherine lived at 709 Broadway as late as 1891. Arthur H. Holl would go to have a long and distinguished career as a funeral director and served as Camden County Coroner at different intervals. The Holl name would remain in public view until 2001, when his Haddonfield funeral home would change hands and the Holl name was discontinued.
After returning to Camden from Bordentown NJ, Edward N. Cohn had bought land from John F. Starr Jr. in North Camden. Cohn partnered with George Holl and Joseph E. Roberts, president of the West Jersey Railroad Company to build many two- and three-story row and frame houses from in North Camden, from Cooper's Point to Pearl Street, which they sold and rented out to working class people.
Around 1890 the Holl brothers erected a block of twelve three-story business properties on the east side of Broadway between Mickle Street and Stevens Street. This block became known as the Holl block. Late in 1890 he acquired the land on which Chambers Avenue was laid out and homes were built.
George Holl passed away on April 16, 1912. Lewis Holl joined him on December 18, 1919. The brothers were buried in adjoining plots at Evergreen Cemetery in Camden. The properties on Broadway remained in the family for a time, but eventually found their way into Orphans Court, and were sold at auction in 1941. George Holl's home at 310 Broadway was purchased by the city in 1921 and was leased to the August F. Walters Post No. 4 of the Disabled American Veterans, who occupied the building through the summer of 1936.
In 1942 the Holl block was demolished, and 10 one story stores were built which remain in use as of April of 2003. However, there are many homes that George Holl had built in South Camden and in North Camden which remain in use today.
South 3rd Street
Photo taken December 22, 2005
Click on Image to Enlarge
South 3rd Street
Photo taken December 22, 2005
Click on Image to Enlarge
|Camden Democrat * July 18, 1874|
To the Honorable the City Council of the city of Camden,N. J.
your petitioners, residents of the Fourth and Sixth wards of this city, and property
ROBERTS, 17 houses, 6th ward.
C. NICHOLLS, Clerk.
Joseph E. Roberts
November 15, 1890
Charles W. Cox
Philadelphia Inquirer * October 29, 1899
Mick - Dr.
John W. Donges - Christopher S. Magrath - Isaac Ferris Jr. -
John Hood - George D. Borton - James F. Davis - Joseph Devinney - George Holl - Joseph Nowrey
William E. Anthony - David T. Campbell - John Pugh - John K. Esler - Harry Stetser
Cornelius Schepperkotter - Dr. Francis J. Bicker - Jonas S. Miller - Allyn Brewer
Joseph Peacock - David A. Shreeve - Charles D. Heath - Frederick Krueger - F.S. Neipling
Aaron Bryant - Jacob C. Lippincott - Thomas Wentz Jr. - William J. Thompson - John S. Smith
George Williams - Charles C. Old - Jacob C. Daubman - Major William H. Tice
Clarence T. Atkinson - James Burke - Thomas Bodell - Francis Ford Patterson Jr.
George Holl lived in the large house with the yard at the corner of Broadway & Benson. Third house up, with white roof, belonged to Dr. A.E. Street. The Holl Block is visible on left, at the far end of Broadway.
from spire of
Click on Image to Enlarge
|Final Resting Place of George & Emma Holl, and their three sons|
|Click on Image to Enlarge|
"Wonder if they're going to take down the spite wall?"
I have heard this query repeated half a dozen times since announcement has been made the old "mansion" of the late Dr. A.E. Street, southeast corner of Broadway and Stevens Street, is to be demolished to make way for a 12 story office structure. This razing is to be scheduled to begin within two weeks. The "spite wall" is on the extreme eastern boundary of the property plumb up against a 3 story apartment house built by the late George Holl.
Dr. Street, who died less than a decade ago, was one of Camden's leading dentists. Son of "Father" Street, venerable superannuate of the New Jersey M.E. Conference. When the mansion was constructed, nearly two score years ago, it was indeed one of the show places along Broadway, for Dr. Street took particular pride in the architectural embellishments in the floral surroundings.
At the other end of the square, Broadway and Benson Streets, Holl had erected his home. It was and is for that matter, a two-story brick with mansard roof and setting back from Benson Street. That side yard Holl likewise embellished with flowers of the season. It was the delight of anyone with half an eye to beauty from early spring to late fall. It started with great beds of tulips. It closed with chrysanthemums with alluring blossoms throughout the summer.
Street and Holl were regarded as among Camden's most substantial citizens, one in the art of dentistry, the other as the builder of homes. They were fairly good friends until Holl built the block from Mickle Street to Stevens Street, since known under his name as the Holl Block. When Street built his then pretentious home, Charlie Curry informs me, he had an agreement with Holl that in the event of the then old circus lot being built up, it would not encroach on his view.
But when the building operation was about to begin Street saw that the dwellings and stores were going out to the usual building line. That would have cut off his view. He refused to permit that plan to go through and held Holl to his agreement, thus accounting for that block standing so far back from the curb line.
In the intervening years there was something of a truce, but warfare broke out anew when Holl in 1901 concluded to construct an apartment house just east of Street's rear boundary. Apartment houses then in Camden were something of an innovation. Street didn't like the idea and when he learned it was surely going up he took action.
He ordered the spite wall built.
There were expostulation, appeals, court action and other efforts to stay that wall, but Street, though a devout churchman and widely known for his charities, refuse to be, what he asserted, a victim of encroachment on his rights.'
Thus he awarded the contract and one brought day a force of masons started the work. It created a local sensation, but the work went on apace and eventually the was finished as was the apartment house. Thus through all these years that solid bit if brickwork has stood within a couple of feet of the west side of the apartment, giving the lower part a prison-like effect. But as time went on it was quite forgotten and those who have resided in the apartment have taken the wall philosophically.
Those who knew Dr. Street were not surprised he took such drastic action. Though he was one of the pillars of the Broadway church, in fact I recall how he started the fund to rebuild the present great edifice at Broadway and Berkley Street by a $1,000 subscription, he was peppy as they make 'em and refused to permit anyone to "walk over him". He felt perfectly justified in building that wall.
So naturally the demolition of the "mansion" brings up that query
Wonder if they're going to take down the spite wall?"
The Holl Block
CLICK ON PHOTO FOR ENLARGED VIEW
|The Holl Block - April 2003|
|Above: Looking South from Mickle Boulevard * Below: Looking North from Stevens Street|
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