COOPER STREET is one of the oldest streets in Camden, and is named after the Cooper family. William Cooper was one of the first settlers in this part of New Jersey. Camden was known as Cooper’s Ferries for many years prior to the city being incorporated in 1828.
The curb line of Cooper Street, from Front Street to the tracks of the Camden & Atlantic Railroad Company, were moved twelve feet towards the center, and the street paved with Belgian blocks in 1881. In 1927 the curb lines were moved back twelve feet from 4th Street to 9th Street. This improvement was completed in September of 1927.
Cooper Street runs from the waterfront east to 9th Street, with a short block of homes and business still standing above 11th Street. Prior to the construction of Interstate Route I-676, Cooper Street ran all the way to 12th Street. Cooper Street was for many years one of the most prestigious addresses in Camden, and many homes of historic significance, due to both the residents and the architects of said homes, were and still are on Cooper Street.
The “beginning of the end” for Cooper Street came in the early 1920s, when three mansions were torn down to make room for the Walt Whitman Hotel. On June 30, 1940 all the homes on the south side of the 900 block were destroyed when the R.M. Hollingshead chemical factory, which occupied most of the block, fronting on 9th and on Market Streets, exploded and burned to the ground.
Little known outside of East Camden is the “other” Cooper Street, which runs between North 19th and East State Street. This short street only has one single family home and a block of 13 row homes.