SPAN OF A CENTURY, 1828-1928
100 YEARS IN THE HISTORY OF CAMDEN AS A CITY
Compiled from notes and 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.
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City Council authorized the construction of a market house on Market Street at the intersection of Third Street on March 13, 1837. This market house containing 8 stalls was erected at a cost of $250, and was ready for use December 28, 1837. It was continued in use until 1871 when it was torn down.
In 1855 a charter was obtained for a private market house for the Camden Market Company, but failing to complete the organization the project was abandoned. In 1856 the Washington Market Company was incorporated and plans called for a market house 100 feet square on the west side of Third Street between Arch and Federal Streets. The building of the city market in that year, however, interfered with this plan. The next project was that of 1874 when John S. Read, Jonathan Burr, William P. Tatem, Randal E. Morgan and Edmund E. Read incorporated the Farmers’ Market Company with as capital of $100,00, but this project also failed to mature.
In 1877 the Farmers’ and Butchers’ Market Company, composed of Thomas A. Wilson, Rodolphus Bingham, Abraham Rapp, James W. Wroth, and Charles Stockham, erected a building 150 feet by 175 feet on Bridge Avenue and West Street, extending to Mickle Street. it was intended for a wholesale and retail market, but did not prosper, for the reason that Philadelphia was so near, the wholesale trade could not be gained and the location was not suitable for retailing.
After being used for two years as a market, it was fitted up for theatrical purposes with a seating capacity of 1000 persons. It finally was secured by the Sixth Regiment, National Guard of New Jersey, and was used as the armory and headquarters until it burned down on March 16, 1906. It was the home of the Camden Electrics professional basketball team, part of the National Basketball League, the first professional league, from 1898 to 1904. Coached by William “Billy” Morgenweck, they were the league champions in 1902-1903.
The next market project was carried through by John S. Read and William S. Scull in 1878. This building was erected on the south side of Federal Street between Fourth and Fifth Streets, at the site later occupied by the Public Service Building, since the late 1980s the home of the Camden Free Public Library. This building was operated as a market until it was burned down on May 13, 1900. This was the last public market house in Camden.