Baker’s Bar and Grill

45 York Street

Northeast Corner of York and Point Street

The building at 45 York Street, at the corner of Point & York Streets, had already been built by 1887. Frederick Eitz, a blacksmith for the Camden & Amboy Railroad, resided there, and is listed in the 1887-1888 and 1888-1889 Camden City Directories. The 1890-1891 Directory shows that an M.A. Bruce was operating a boarding house there. Of the nine boarders listed in the directory, seven were ship carpenters, employed at the nearby shipyards.

45 York Street was being operated as tavern by 1918, when Frank Ziemski was the proprietor. He had acquired the property some time after the 1910 Census. Frank Ziemski passed away during the 1920s. The Camden City Directories indicate that Mrs. Anna Ziemski operated the establishment from 1926 through 1931, and the 1930 census shows that her daughter and son-in-law, Amanda and Joseph Schlichting, widowed daughter, Helen Olesiewicz, grandchildren Loretta and Joseph, also resided there. Alex Ziemski is named in an August 1933 Courier-Post newspaper article in connection with the bar. During the Prohibition years she sold cigars, soda, and other soft drinks, bottled across the street at Oscar B. Wiedenhammer’s Bottling Works at 48-50 York street.

In the mid-1930s the establishment was known as Baker’s Bar & Grill. The October 1936 New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory indicates that Mary A. Baker was at 45 York Street.

By 1939 Joseph G. Zawitkowski had married Helen Ziemski Olesiewicz, and the two operated the business through at least 1969. Bob Parke, who grew up in the neighborhood recalls “…the bar was called Joe’s and Sloppy Joe’s, but it was anything but sloppy. Maybe he one time spilled a beer on one of his patrons! There was a side entrance that lead to a good size room with tables and chairs where many of the Mathis shipyard workers and others were served their lunch during the World War II years.

Joseph G. Zawitkowski lived his remaining years in Camden, passing away in April of 1974, shortly after his 80th birthday.


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