Monday, March 11, 2013

1890 Woodbury Business Profiles

I recently came into possession of a rare book from 1890 entitled: Historical and Industrial View of Camden. This book is a great time capsule documenting the once thriving City of Camden, but also features other important South Jersey towns, including Woodbury. I have transcribed it here (most of which was greatly aided by Phil Cohen's wonderful site: It begins with a most enjoyable description of our city:

This delightful town is so well known, 'tis scarcely necessary to comment on its many advantages. Passing through it on the cars prejudices one in its favor immediately, for its neat, wide, shaded streets, and grassy lawns and playing fountains about the artistic houses, harbor an inviting air, and bespeak a thrifty enterprise of the five thousand inhabitants. It has six churches (Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian), and private and public schools, banks and opera house, gas and water, telegraphic, mail and express communication—in fact, every city convenience. It is the county seat of Gloucester County.


CONSIDERING the nearness to Philadelphia it is v surprising what a remarkably good hotel Woodbury possesses. This hotel was originally built prior to 1808; there was a stone in the original building dating then. After passing through the hands of various proprietors it came under the management of Mr. Newton about twelve years ago; when he took possession it was in a very bad condition; it has been rebuilt at various times, the greatest improvements having been added in 1885, when it was entirely rebuilt. The building is three stories, built of brick, and in every way furnished most handsomely, containing fifty sleeping rooms. It is heated throughout with steam and lighted with gas. Electric bells have been introduced into all rooms. All the modern conveniences are in operation. The cuisine is under the management of a most competent chef.

Mr. Newton, the proprietor, is an ideal host, having been in this line for many years. He has taken an active part in the development of the city, being one of the prime movers in the Gas Company and President of the Electric Light Company.

A fine bar is kept constantly supplied with the best quality of liquors and ample stabling room adjoins the premises.


THERE are but few better or more favorably known houses in this section than that of Mr. J. Seeds. This estimable gentleman established business in this city about nine years ago, and has grown from comparative smallness to a very large business. The premises occupied are about 20x70 feet in dimensions, with a weaving room in the rear. A full stock of Groceries, Provisions, Crockery, etc. Tinware is carried, comprising all qualities and kinds. Four looms are kept running in the weaving department. All kinds of rag carpet are made to order. Mr. Seeds is a practical weaver himself.

Mr. Seeds has been a life-long resident of this county. He is an active member of the Iron Hall, Knights of the Golden Eagle, and the Post G. A. R., having served four years in the 2d New Jersey Cavalry, and was discharged with honor.


THERE are no business houses in this section that have achieved a better reputation than that of Mrs. S. Morrison. This lady opened business many years ago in Chester, and about two years ago a branch store was opened here under the management of her son, Mr. Robert Morrison. This gentleman by his great industry and energy has built up an enormous trade here.

The premises are about 20x180 feet in dimensions, with a large store and ice cream garden.

The parlor has a seating capacity of about fifty persons. All kinds of Cakes and Confectionery are kept. Particular attention is paid to serving patrons, weddings and balls.

The trade of the house is extremely large, and includes some of the best families in the city. Mr. Morrison, the manager, is thoroughly capable, having had many years experience in this line.


THERE are but few houses in this city that have sprung into popularity quicker than that of Mr. H. B. Simmerman. This gentleman came to this city a year and a half ago from Trenton and purchased this business; at first it was very small, but it has constantly been increasing until now the trade is very large and steadily increasing. The premises occupied are about 35 feet square and fitted in the nicest and neatest manner. A very large stock is carried, comprising all kinds of Fancy and Staple Groceries, Salt Meats, and Fresh Country Produce.

The services of four capable salesmen are required and two teams are kept busy delivering orders.

Mr. Simmerman enjoys the closest relations with the importing and jobbing houses in New York and Philadelphia, and is thus enabled to procure the best articles for the least possible cost.

In addition to the foregoing there are the following:

Chas. Walton, 21 S. Broad st., Coal and Lime.
John Redfield, Cooper st., Ice Cream.

The main section of Camden also includes Woodbury business mentions such as:

THOUGH the manufacture of glass is generally supposed to be a comparatively modern invention or discovery, the growth for the last few hundred years or so, it is not so, but only a rediscovery, since the Dark Ages, of what was known and practiced in almost prehistoric times. Paintings of the reign of Osritasen I., at Beni-Hassan, representing glassblowers making a very large vase, show conclusively that nearly 4,000 years ago—before the Hebrew exodus, and before profane history commenced—the Egyptians were proficient in this art. In the arts, the word "glass" originally applied to all shining bodies, is limited to compounds of sand, potash or soda, and lime. Oxide of manganese, litharge and red lead are also sometimes used.

In Camden, the firm engaged in this industry is that of A. C. Lamar, of 9-1/2 Market street. This well know house manufactures all kinds of glass, both for building and ornamental purposes, including window, plate, colored, enameled, stained, fluted, ribbed, hammered, embossed, and cathedral glass, and also looking-glass plates, of the finer grades, this latter being a specialty. The quality is always kept at the highest standard, in order to compete successfully with that imported from France and Belgium. Bottles and glass hollow-ware of all sorts are also made.

The factory is at Woodbury, a few miles from Camden, and covers a site of several acres. The buildings comprise two large furnace-houses, a flattening-house, with cutting-room attached, engine and boiler-house, a pot-house, where the pots for melting are made, together with blacksmith-shop, packing-house, warehouse and offices, and the necessary stables, out-buildings, etc.
The tracks of the West Jersey Railroad run into the factory ground, by which means all the shipments are made. The entire plant is of modern improved construction, and complete in all details, with every requisite appliance for turning out the best work. The number of men employed is 150. Sixteen tons of glass are melted daily, and one hundred tons of coal and coke are consumed every week, about forty weeks constitute the working year in this industry. The output of manufactured glass per week amounts to about 160, 000 feet, averaging the value of $5,000.
A.C. Lamar
A.C. Lamar

BY all odds the best and most favorably known establishment of this character in this county the store of Mr. Stratton stands at the head. This business was originally opened about ten years ago, and has from the inception been most successful.
An ample storeroom is used. It is finished in the most neat and attractive style.
Mr. Stratton is the agent in this section for the Estey Organs, the acknowledged leader. These are manufactured in Brattleboro, Vermont. They are gotten up in the best manner. The design of the cases is entirely original, neat and tasty. They are possessed with a full and truly organ-like tone.
All kinds of Musical Instruments are also kept, including equipments for string and brass bands.
Music is furnished for balls and parties at the shortest notice. A store has been opened in Bridgeton, at No. 26 Laurel street.
Mr. Stratton is a native of Mullica Hill, this county. He is very extensively known and an energetic and active business man. He is also agent for Gloucester county, Salem and Cumberland counties, for the celebrated Dyer & Hughes Organ, an instrument that is attaining widespread popularity.


THE pioneer in the fine clothing trade in this section is Mr. Watson. This gentleman came here about one year ago, with the idea that a business of this character would pay here, and thus far he has received every assurance of success.

The store occupied is about 20 x 75 feet in dimensions, and is fitted in the neatest and most convenient manner.

A very heavy stock is carried, comprising all kinds of Men's Wear, Hats, Caps, Neckwear, Hosiery and Underwear, and Clothing. In every department the stock is most complete.
Particular attention is paid to Youths' and Boys' Clothing.

Mr. Watson is a native of Philadelphia. He is thoroughly acquainted with this line and fully alive to the demands of the trade. He was formerly manager for Messrs. Goodman Bros., at 13th and Ridge avenue, Philadelphia. He enjoys the closest relations with the manufacturers, and is thus enabled to get his goods at the lowest market prices.