The City of Camden is the county seat of Camden County, New Jersey, in the United States. It is located across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As of the U.S. 2010 Census, the city had a total population of 77,344.
Camden was originally incorporated as a city on February 13, 1828, from portions of the now-defunct Newton Township, while the area was still part of Gloucester County. On March 13, 1844, Camden became part of the newly formed Camden County.
Although once a thriving center for manufacturing and industry, Camden is perhaps best known for its struggles with urban dysfunction. Three Camden mayors have been jailed for corruption, the most recent being Milton Milan in 2000. Since 2005 the school system and police department have been operated by the State of New Jersey; the takeover will expire in 2012. In 2008, Camden had the highest crime rate in the U.S. with 2,333 violent crimes per 100,000 people while the national average was 455 per 100,000. Camden public schools spend $17,000 per student per year and two thirds of the students graduate. Two out of every five residents are below the national poverty line.
Fort Nassau (located within the present boundaries of nearby Gloucester City, New Jersey), was built by the Dutch West India Company in 1626, and was the first European attempt to settle the area now occupied by Camden. Initial European activity in the vicinity of present-day Camden occurred along the banks of the Delaware River where the Dutch and the Swedish vied for control of the local fur trade. Europeans continued to settle in and improve the area during the 17th century. Much of the growth directly resulted from the success of another Quaker colony across the Delaware River known as Philadelphia, which was founded in 1682 and soon had enough population to attract a brisk trade from West Jersey and Camden. To accommodate the trade across the river, a string of ferries began operation.
For over 150 years, Camden served as a secondary economic and transportation hub for the Philadelphia area. But that status began to change in the early 19th century. One of the U.S.'s first railroads, the Camden and Amboy Railroad, was chartered in Camden in 1830. The Camden and Amboy Railroad allowed travelers to travel between New York City and Philadelphia via ferry terminals in South Amboy, New Jersey and Camden. The railroad terminated on the Camden waterfront, and passengers were ferried across the Delaware River to their final Philadelphia destination. The Camden and Amboy Railroad opened in 1834 and helped to spur an increase in population and commerce in Camden.
Originally a suburban town with ferry service to Philadelphia, Camden evolved into its own city, as industry and neighborhoods grew. Camden prospered during strong periods of manufacturing demand and faced distress during periods of economic dislocation.
Like most American cities, Camden suffered from decline in the 20th century as the manufacturing base and many residents moved out to other locations. Currently, government, education, and health care are the three biggest employers in Camden; however, most employees commute to Camden and live in nearby suburbs such as Cherry Hill. Revitalization has occurred along the Camden Waterfront and in the neighborhoods of Cooper Grant, Cramer Hill, and Fairview, with direct access to Philadelphia.
From 1901 through 1929, Camden was headquarters of the Victor Talking Machine Company, and thereafter to its successor RCA Victor, the world's largest manufacturer of phonographs and phonograph records for the first two-thirds of the 20th century. RCA Victor contained one of the first commercial recording studios in the United States, where Enrico Caruso, among others, recorded. The General Electric Company reacquired RCA in 1986.
In 1992, the State of New Jersey under the Florio Administration made an agreement with GE to ensure that GE would not close the Camden site. The state of New Jersey would build a new high tech facility on the site of the old Campbell Soup Company factory and trade these new buildings to GE for the existing old RCA Victor Buildings. Later, the new high tech buildings would be sold to Martin Marietta. In 1994, Martin Marietta merged with Lockheed to become Lockheed Martin. In 1997, Lockheed Martin divested the Camden Plant as part of the birth of L-3 Communications.The famous "Nipper Building" depicting RCA's famous "His Master's Voice" trademark in its tower windows has since been renovated into a luxury apartment building called "The Victor." Building 8 is set to be rehabilitated into luxury condominiums called "Radio Lofts." Both projects are the work of Dranoff Properties, a well known Philadelphia development corporation that has specialized in these types of constructions. Another older building, Victor Building No. 2, is used to this day to house the Camden City Board of Education. Most of the other old RCA Victor buildings have long since been demolished.
From 1899 to 1967, Camden was the home of New York Shipbuilding Corporation, which at its World War II peak was the largest and most productive shipyard in the world. Notable naval vessels built at New York Ship include the ill-fated cruiser USS Indianapolis and the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk. In 1962, the first commercial nuclear-powered ship, the NS Savannah, was launched in Camden. The Fairview Village section of Camden (initially Yorkship Village) was a planned European-style garden village built by the Federal government during World War I to house New York Shipbuilding Corporation workers.
At Camden's peak, 10,000 workers were employed at RCA, while another 40,000 worked at New York Shipbuilding. RCA had 23 out of 25 of its factories inside Camden. Campbell Soup was also a major employer. By 1969, Camden had been losing jobs and residents for a quarter century due in large part to urban decay, highway construction, and racial tensions.Template:Citation needed
In his book Capital Moves: RCA's Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor, Jefferson Cowie mentions that Camden in the 1920s was known as "the Citadel of Republicanism". The decline of the Republican Party in Camden overlapped the decline of manufacturing.Template:Clarify
Situated on the Delaware River, with access to the Atlantic Ocean, the Port of Camden handles breakbulk and bulk cargo. The port consists of two terminals: the Beckett Street Terminal and the Broadway Terminal. The port receives hundreds of ships moving international and domestic cargo annually. 
In 2005, the Port of Camden (South Jersey Port Corporation) was subject to an unresolved criminal investigation and a state audit. Some activities in the port are under the jurisdiction of the Delaware River Port Authority.
Since July 1, 1961, the City has operated under a Mayor-Council form of government. Under this form of government, the City Council consisted of seven Council members originally all elected at-large. In 1994, the City opted to modify the form of government to better address the changing needs of the citizenry. To that end, the City of Camden was divided into four council districts, instead of electing the entire Council at-large. One Council member is elected from each of the four districts. In 1995, the election was changed from a partisan election to a non-partisan Municipal Election.
Mayor Milton Milan was jailed for his connections to organized crime. On June 15, 2001, he was sentenced to serve seven years in prison on 14 counts of corruption, including accepting mob payoffs and concealing a $65,000 loan from a drug kingpin.
Dana Redd is the Mayor of Camden. She is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, a bi-partisan group with a stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets." The Coalition is co-chaired by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Members of the City Council include:
- Francisco "Frank" Moran — City Council President and Ward 3
- Curtis Jenkins - Vice President and Council Member At Large
- Marilyn Torres - Council Member At Large
- Dana M. Burley — Ward 1
- Luis Lopez — Ward 4
- Deborah Polk — Council Member At Large
- William Spearman — Ward 2
Federal, state and county representationEdit
Camden is in the Template:NJ Legislative 05
Camden contains the U.S.'s first federally funded planned community for working class residents, Yorkship Village (now called Fairview). The village was designed by Electus Darwin Litchfield, who was influenced by the "garden city" developments popular in England at the time.
- Ablett Village
- Bergen Square
- Center City/Downtown Camden/Central Business District
- Central Waterfront
- Cooper Point
- Cramer Hill
- Delaware Gardens
- East Camden
- Lanning Square
- Liberty Park
- Morgan Village
- North Camden
- Pyne Point
- South Camden
- Waterfront North
- Waterfront South
- Whitman Park
- Yorkship Square
Template:USCensusPop As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there were 79,904 people, 24,177 households, and 17,431 families residing in the city. The population density was 9,057.0 people per square mile (3,497.9/km²). There were 29,769 housing units at an average density of 3,374.3 units per square mile (1,303.2/km²).
As of the Census Bureau's 2005-2009 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, the racial makeup of the city was 49.9% Non-Hispanic Black, 15.5% White, 2.6% Asian, 0.8% Native American, 0.0% Pacific Islander, and 28.5% from other races. 2.7% of residents were from two or more races. 42.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race, majority of which are Puerto Ricans. 13.3% of the population is foreign-born.
There were 24,177 households out of which 42.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 26.1% were married couples living together, 37.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.9% were non-families. 22.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.52 and the average family size was 4.00.Template:Citation needed
In the city, the population is quite young with 34.6% under the age of 18, 12.0% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 16.3% from 45 to 64, and 7.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 94.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.0 males.Template:Citation needed
The per capita income for the city was $11,967. 35.4% of the population and 38.3% of families were below the poverty line. 45.5% of those under the age of 18 and 23.8% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.Template:Citation needed
Based on 2006 data from the United States Census Bureau, 52% of the city's residents live in poverty, the highest rate in the nation. The city had a median household income of $18,007, the lowest of all U.S. communities with populations of more than 65,000 residents, making it America's poorest city. A group of poor Camden residents were the subject of a 20/20 special on poverty in America broadcast on January 26, 2007. In the special, Diane Sawyer profiled the lives of three young children growing up in Camden. A follow up was shown on November 9, 2007. In early 2009, the unemployment rate was 17.0%, more than twice the average of New Jersey.Template:Verify source
In 2007, 33.85% of Camden residents identified themselves as being of Puerto Rican heritage. This was the third highest proportion of Puerto Ricans in a municipality on the United States mainland, behind only Holyoke, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut, for all communities in which 1,000 or more people listed an ancestry group.
New Jersey Transit's Walter Rand Transportation Center is located at Martin Luther King Boulevard and Broadway. In addition to being a hub for New Jersey Transit (NJT) buses in the Southern Division, Greyhound Lines, the PATCO Speedline and River Line make stops at the station.
The PATCO Speedline offers frequent train service to Philadelphia and the suburbs to the east in Camden County, with stations at City Hall, Broadway (Walter Rand Transportation Center) and Ferry Avenue.
Since its opening in 2004, NJT's River Line has offered frequent light rail service to towns along the Delaware north of Camden, and terminates in Trenton. Camden stations are 36th Street, Walter Rand Transportation Center, Cooper Street-Rutgers University, Aquarium and Entertainment Center.
NJT bus service is available to Philadelphia on the 313, 315, 317, and 318 and various 400 series lines, to Atlantic City is served by the 551 bus. Local service is offered on the 450, 451, 452, 453, and 457 lines.
The City of Camden is protected 24/7 by the professional firefighters of the City of Camden Fire Department. Officially organized in 1869, the Camden Fire Department is the oldest paid fire department in the state of New Jersey and is among the oldest in the United States. In 1916, the Department was the first in the United States that had an all-motorized fire apparatus fleet. The Camden Fire Department currently operates out of 6 Fire Stations, located throughout the city, and operate a front line fire apparatus fleet of 6 Engines, 3 Ladders, 1 Squad, 1 Rescue, 1 Haz-Mat. Unit, 1 Special Operations Unit, 1 Fire Boat, and numerous special, support, and reserve units, under the command of a Deputy Chief and 2 Battalion Chiefs. In the past two years, the Camden Fire Department has suffered severe economic cutbacks, including company closures and staffing cuts.
Fire station locations and apparatusEdit
|Engine Company||Ladder Company||Special Unit||Battalion Chief||Address||Neighborhood|
|Engine 1, Engine 6||Ladder 1||Marine Unit||Car 3(Deputy Chief)||4 N. 3rd St.||Center City|
|Squad 7||1115 Kaighns Ave.||Whitman Park|
|Engine 8||Rescue 1, Rescue 2(Special Ops.), Haz-Mat. 1||Battalion 1||1301 Broadway||South Camden|
|Engine 9||Tower Ladder 3||Battalion 2||3 N. 27th St.||East Camden|
|Engine 10||Ladder 2||2500 Morgan Blvd.||South Camden|
|Engine 11||901 N. 27th St.||Cramer Hill|
One of the most popular attractions of Camden is the city's waterfront, along the Delaware River. The waterfront is highlighted by its four main attractions, the USS New Jersey; the Susquehanna Bank Center; Campbell's Field; and the Adventure Aquarium.
The Adventure Aquarium was originally opened in 1992 as the New Jersey State Aquarium at Camden. In 2005, after extensive renovation, the aquarium was reopened under the name Adventure Aquarium. The aquarium was one of the original centerpieces in Camden's plans for revitalizing their city.
The recently renamed Susquehanna Bank Center (formerly known as the Tweeter Center) is a 25,000-seat open-air concert amphitheater that was opened in 1995.
The USS New Jersey (BB-62) was a U.S. Navy battleship that was intermittently active between the years 1943 and 1991. After its retirement, the ship was turned into a museum along the waterfront that opened in 2001. The New Jersey saw action during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and provided support off Lebanon in early 1983.
Other attractions at the Waterfront are the Wiggins Park Riverstage and Marina, One Port Center, The Victor Lofts, the Walt Whitman House, the Walt Whitman Cultural Arts Center, the Rutgers-Camden Center For The Arts and the Camden Children's Garden.
The Waterfront is also served by two modes of public transportation. New Jersey Transit serves the Waterfront on its River Line, while people from Philadelphia can commute using the RiverLink Ferry, which connects the Waterfront with Old City Philadelphia.
Riverfront State PrisonEdit
Riverfront State Prison, which opened in August 1985, was a state penitentiary located near downtown Camden, north of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. It held 1,009 inmates in 2006. The last prisoners were transferred in June 2009 to other locations, and the prison was closed and subsequently demolished. The site is expected to be redeveloped by the State of New Jersey, the City of Camden, and private investors.
- Campbell Soup Company
- City of Camden
- Cooper University Hospital
- Delaware River Port Authority of Pennsylvania & New Jersey
- L-3 Communications, fmr. Lockheed Martin
- Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center
- Rutgers University-Camden
- State of New Jersey
- New Jersey Judiciary
- Susquehanna Bank
Urban enterprise zoneEdit
Portions of Camden are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3½% sales tax rate (versus the 7% rate charged statewide).
Camden had been passed over for redevelopment for many decades. The dawn of the 21st century has brought new redevelopment plans. Campbell Soup Company has decided to go forward with a scaled down redevelopment of the area around its corporate headquarters in Camden, including an expanded corporate headquarters. The nearby Sears building was bought by a local developer, with plans for loft-style housing and commercial businesses. Cherokee Investment Partners had a grand plan to redevelop north Camden with 5,000 new homes and a shopping center on Template:Convert. Cherokee dropped their plans in the face of local opposition and the slumping real estate market.
- communications plan
- Adventure Aquarium
- Campbell's Field baseball park
- Ferry Terminal Building
- L-3 Communications headquarters
- One Port Center
- Radio Lofts (in progress)
- Susquehanna Bank Center, fmr. Tweeter Center
- Victor Lofts
Camden's public schools are operated by Camden City Public Schools district. The district is one of thirty-one Abbott Districts, a group of New Jersey school districts identified as being in "poorer urban districts" or "special needs districts", that receive special state funding including free preschools for three- and four-year olds.
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