429 N. 10th Street
Northeast corner of N. 10th Street & Linden Street
In December of 1887 the Camden Board of Education approved the purchase of land on the east side of Tenth Street at Linden Street “at thirty-five cents per foot” for the purpose of constructing a new school for colored children. Work on the new school did not begin for two years, and it was not until March 3, 1890 that the new school, on the northeast corner of Tenth and Linden was completed and named, appropriately enough, the Linden School. Miss Anna Johntra was appointed the school’s first principal of the boys’ department and Miss Frankie Messler the first principal of the girls’ department. Miss Johntra was appointed principal of both departments in December of 1905, and remained at the helm of the Linden School until her retirement in June of 1916.
Josephine Klags was principal of the school by 1924. She was also chairman of the Principals’ Salary Committee, which engaged in collective bargaining on behalf of Camden’s principals with the Board of Education. By 1929 Miss Klags was later principal at the Broadway School.
Although the Linden School was relatively new by Camden’s standards, several schools in use being decades older, it was deemed inadequate. The growing population of students in the neighborhood of the Linden School had required the utilization of portable school buildings. A new school, designed by the Camden architectural firm of Edwards and Green (Byron Edwards and Alfred Green), was completed in 1926 at Tenth and State Streets by the construction firm of George Shaner and Sons. Occupied on September 14, 1926, the new school was named the William F. Powell School, after the long-time principal of the Mount Vernon School who later served as Ambassador to Haiti. The old Linden School, despite the wishes of neighboring residents who sought the use of the building for recreational purposes, was torn down shortly afterwards.
Thanks to Fred Reiss, Ed.D. , for writing the defining book on public education in Camden prior to 1948, PUBLIC EDUCATION IN CAMDEN, N.J.- From Inception to Integration, from which much of the above history of the Kaighn School is derived.