"asturnut's Camden, NJ Page" Top 5 Page for this destination Camden by asturnut

Camden Travel Guide: 42 reviews and 80 photos

Renaissance Camden

Camden was until recent history, as fine as any city could be. It was filled with glorious homes and churches, and was even the home of the famous American poet Walt Whitman. But for about the past 3 decades or so Camden has fallen from grace and gained a reputation as one of the absolute worst cities in the country. It was, unitl recently accurately known for being dangerous, corrupt, filthy and delapidated-- a virtual cesspool that by all rights should be wiped from the face of the earth. The people of Camden were poor, repressed and utterly destitute; again and again they were betrayed by corrupt politicians who lined their own pockets and left the people to starve in squalor. Camden was a really, really bleak place.

And then a few years ago, someone took a chance and started a revival in Camden. Camden is still the one of the poorest cities in the US. But a revival has begun; it started with the waterfront, the construction of the world class Camden Aquarium, the Tweeter Center and the Rutgers Camden Campus. And now, street by street, the city is being transformed.

I remember the first time I drove into Camden- it was before things had really started to improve. I was working with the Camden chapter of Habitat for Humanity renovating homes to provide decent housing for low-income families. It was scary. We were told not to go anywhere alone and not to leave the block we were working on. It was downright dangerous... now the block is complete (it looks great!) and Habitat is just one small part of the effort to improve the standard of living in Camden. I won't lie, there's a long way to go... but there's a light at the end of the tunnel, and there might just hope for the city after all.

Typical scene in Camden

As you can see by the photos, Habitat works. The two photos are of the same block of houses before and after. Amazing isn't it? This photo is representative of what much of Camden still looks like though.... There's still a long way to go.

Related links:
City of Camden: www.ci.camden.nj.us
Walt Whitman Center: www.waltwhitmancenter.org
Camden Chapter of Habitat for Humanity: www.habitatcamden.org
Camden Waterfront: www.camdenwaterfront.com

  • Intro Updated Feb 8, 2004
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Reviews (5)

Comments (3)

  • 850prc's Profile Photo
    Nov 26, 2005 at 5:16 PM

    I read where Camden was supposed to be America's "most dangerous city". Looks like it was a good location for you and your child. As a former hospital professional, I love reading happy hospital endings. :)

  • acemj's Profile Photo
    May 27, 2003 at 6:11 PM

    Is Clinton St. near the Rivershark's stadium? I was here the other day at Hank's having a cold one with some friends. Long way to go, but it's improving.

  • sambarnett's Profile Photo
    Mar 11, 2003 at 2:00 PM

    Basically I'd just be leaving the same comment here that I did on your Newark page. ;-)

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