The Merchants Trust was organized in November of 1911. It was a small bank that catered to Camden’s business community, and was one of many small and medium sized banks active in the 1910s and 1920s. From its founding through his death in 1924 the president of the Merchants Trust was Charles Reynolds. He was succeeded in that position by George Frey. E.G. Robinson served as vice-president all through this time. The new bank acquired the house of Casper T. Sharpless at 18 Broadway, and remodeled it for use as a bank. The Merchants Trust opened its doors for business on March 4, 1912.
This bank traces is roots back to June 16, 1812 when Camden’s first bank was incorporated. It was known as The State Bank at Camden, and retained that name until June 2, 1865, at which time it became a National Bank and its title was made The National State Bank of Camden. This bank did business until the late 1920s at the corner of North 2nd and Market Streets. The National State Bank of Camden merged with the First National Bank under the name First National State Bank on July 1, 1922.
The Central Trust Company organized on April 9, 1891 at Read’s Hall, a building which later housed the Camden Daily Courier newspaper. After receiving its charter on May 8, the Central Trust commenced business on May 11, 1891. The bank was located at 324 Federal Street until April 1, 1892, and then at 323 Federal Street. The Central Trust Company bank building at 4th & Federal Streets was opened on October 31, 1900. The first president was Abraham Anderson, R.F. Bancroft the first vice-president, and Charles C. Pine the first treasurer. Thomas Nekervis was made secretary-treasurer on April 14, 1892. Montreville Shinn was made assistant Secretary-Treasurer on June 16, 1908, and C. Chester Craig was made trust officer on December 17, 1900.
One of the last banks to be organized in Camden, Third National Bank was organized in January of 1928. The new bank survived the depression, and remained in business as the Third National Bank & Trust Company until the 1970s, when it was merged into the United Jersey Bank. Unlike the other Camden banks that survived the Depression, Third National remained primarily a Camden institution.
The Camden Trust traces its origin back to July 1, 1873, when the The Camden Insurance, Safe Deposit & Trust Company, first opened for business, at 224 Federal Street. Over a period of seventy-five years, the bank merged with other local banks such as the Security Trust Company, Central Trust Company, East End Trust Company, and American National Bank Bank. The bank relocated, and underwent name changes prior to achieving it’s “modern” format in 1938. At that point the institution was the largest bank in South Jersey.
Established in 1885, the Camden National Bank opened at 259 Kaighn Avenue on August 13, 1885. Zophar C. Howell was the first President. One of the founders, and an early vice-president was Henry B. Wilson, for whom the H.B. Wilson School at South 9th & Florence Street is named, and whose son was Admiral Henry Braid Wilson Jr., for whom the boulevard is named. Another of Wilson’s son, Philip Wilson, worked for the bank for many years. Other founders included Howard M. Cooper and Isaac C. Toone.
The Broadway Trust Company building was built prior to World War I. The architect was Phillip Merz who was based in Rochester NY and the building was constructed by the J. Henry Miller Co. of Baltimore MD, who also built the building which would become the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s third home in Washington DC, and the Bank of America Building in Baltimore MD.
Founded in the mid-1920s, The American National Bank built a fine building at 1213 Broadway which is still standing today, although it has been boarded up and vacant for many years. The bank’s President was Elmer Ellsworth Long, who had been a principle in the Munger & Long Department Store at Broadway and Federal Street for many years. Another director was Louis Waisban, who owned a grocery and had real estate interests in Cramer Hill.
The Farmers and Mechanics Bank was organized with a capital of $300,000 on March 31, 1855. The banking house at the southeast corner of Front and Market Streets was built at the cost of $18,000. This institution was conducted as a State Bank until September 1, 1864 when it became a National Bank and its title changed to First National Bank of Camden. On July 1, 1922, it merged with the National State Bank under the title of First National State Bank of Camden. The banking house of the National State Bank was used by the combined institutions and the old building of the First National Bank was subsequently sold to the Joseph Campbell Soup Company.
Broadway Trust Company
(added 1990 – Building – #90001284)
Also known as ONJH Inventory #0408190
938-944 Broadway, Camden
Historic Significance: Event Architecture/Engineering
Architect / builder or engineer: Phillip Merz / J. Henry Miller
Architectural Style: Classical Revival
Area of Significance: Economics Architecture
Period of Significance: 1900-1924 1925-1949
Historic Function: Commerce/Trade
Historic Sub-function: Financial Institution
Current Function: Religion
Current Sub-function: Religious Structure