Birch Street, West of 9th St., Camden, NJ – Then & Now

Birch Street West of 9th St., Camden, NJ, 1908

The title for this card is “BIRCH ST. WEST OF 9th ST. / CAMDEN, N.J.” Here are three persons, perhaps including the proprietors of the corner store behind them.

3 Bros and Havana Ribbon cigars

Most prominent is the signage advertising “TAHOMA Cigars,” but note also the advertisements for Fring’s Havana Ribbon cigars and 3 Bros. 5¢ cigars affixed to the corner awning support.

What this country needs is a really good five-cent cigar.

I hear “5¢ cigar” and that old saying comes to mind about this country’s need for a good 5-cent cigar.

Despite the accomplishments of former governor of Indiana and Vice-President (1913-1921) Thomas R. Marshall, his most widespread fame is attributed to that remark. Although he popularized the sentiment, it was not original with him, having appeared in the press as early as 1875.

Obviously, providing 5¢ smokes to the cigar connoisseurs of this Camden neighborhood was the goal for the proprietors of this store in 1908.

Down the street in the distance are two horse-drawn wagons. Typical row houses are shown here and the card is postmarked in Camden in December 1908 and addressed to a recipient on Bordentown Ave. in Burlington, N.J. Produced by Wm. B. Cooper, Photographer – Medford, N.J.

This google maps link shows the same approximate location at Birch Street West of 9th St., Camden, NJ, 1908 today. The old store is gone now, just like the nickel cigar.

Closer to home, clippings from our own newspaper archive testify to the existence of several area cigar stores over the years:

They have all vanished now, except for one. That is if you still count it even though it moved a few doors and changed hands several times since 1926. This 2009 Courier-Post article shows it as it looked in the late 1990s and tells more about it.

We welcome comments, corrections, and especially hope that someone can share more old photos of some of the local businesses named above. -JMc

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John McCormick

Teacher at Riverton School 1974-2019, author, amateur historian, Historical Society of Riverton Board Member 2007-2023, newsletter editor 2007-2023, website editor 2011-2023

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