A souvenir folder of pre-WWII Camden, NJ

Camden Souvenir Folder cover
Camden Souvenir Folder cover

The south wall of Camden City Hall’s gray granite façade bears the uplifting inscription, “In a dream I saw a city invincible,” a reference to a line from this poem by Walt Whitman.

I Dream’d in a Dream
Walt Whitman

I dream’d in a dream I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth,
I dream’d that was the new city of Friends,
Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust love, it led the rest,
It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of that city,
And in all their looks and words.

Started on the cusp of the Great Depression in 1929, and completed two years later, that neoclassical house of government for the City and County of Camden still dominates the Camden skyline over eight decades later.

Souvenir Folder of Camden c.1930s
Souvenir Folder of Camden c.1930s

This Souvenir Folder of Camden, New Jersey, probably dating from the early 1930s, has a description of an industrial and commercial metropolis of seemingly unlimited potential (PDF of description here.)

Ironic, I know. Many have recounted and analyzed reasons for Camden’s long descent into its current despairing state.

However, I have not come here to bash Camden, but to praise the Camden that was my hometown for my first 21 years.

These Depression-era old postcard photos predate my memories of growing up in North and East Camden in the late 1940s through early 1970s, to be sure, but those experiences truly shaped the outcome of this baby-boomer’s life.

View at full screen all 22 Camden Souvenir Folder images in this PDF slide show (1.99MB).

What buildings, places, or landmarks do you think would make it into a Souvenir Folder of Riverton, New Jersey? Let us know here, on our Facebook page, or email to rivertonhistory@gmail.com – John McCormick

One thought on “A souvenir folder of pre-WWII Camden, NJ”

  1. John:

    Obviously the Yacht Club, Train Station, Library, many old “mansions” on Bank Avenue, Riverton Park, Riverton Country Club ( Maybe include the bowling alley), old building at point of Main and Howard Street (love the architecture of it), Bank building on Main Street, War Memorial, Porch Club, Episcopal Church ( Stained-glass/interior). That is a start.

    Gary R Weart

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