The Cooper Street Historic District and adjacent campus of Rutgers-Camden are a living museum of American urban history. Surviving nineteenth-century residences and later commercial, institutional, and industrial buildings tell the story of Camden’s emergence as an industrial powerhouse and the impacts of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and urban renewal. Within six blocks, highlights of this walk will include a rare row of 1850s working-class rental properties, the 1869 mansion of Philadelphia advertising pioneer F.W. Ayer, Camden’s first luxury apartment building, the distinctive public art of Johnson Park, and surviving buildings of the RCA-Victor factory complex. We will see residences individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places for their architectural merit and a variety of approaches to preservation and adaptive reuse.
This tour will be led by Charlene Mires, Professor of History and Director of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities at Rutgers-Camden. She leads the Learning From Cooper Street project, which involves students in documenting past residents of properties on Cooper Street and in the area of the Rutgers-Camden campus.