OK, this place is amazing. Located in Camden, I first saw it coming home from a Riversharks game and I was immediately intrigued. Let’s start by saying you probably know Camden (if at all) for it’s pretty bad reputation. It has definitely spent some time as the nations most dangerous city (most recently in 2009– while Colonie, NY was ranked as the nations safest- Shot out!). But what people often forget is that Camden was once a unbelievably vibrant and industrial city.
It’s hard for me to be in Camden and not because I fear for my life, but because the proof of the city’s opulant past is on every street and there is so much frustration in the fact that the city is at such a low point. The bones are still there, the city just needs a lot of help. That’s the ironic thing about a city in such a state of urban decay. Because Camden is in the state it’s in, there is no desire for development. Meaning, no one is coming in razing existing buildings to build CVS’ and Targets so the great architectural infrastructure is still standing (for the most part). On the other hand, all these great buildings are sitting empty for so long it’s a shame there is no use for them and unfortunately by the time Camden does has the use for them, chances are they’ll be structurally unsound.
This isn’t a post on Camden itself as I’m not an expert. All I know is that it used to be a prosperous city and now it’s not. At all. But just in case you don’t know about Camden a brief 50ish word lesson to bring you up to date-
In the late 19th and early 20th century it was a transportation hub and home to thriving woolen mills, carriage factories, blacksmiths, and even the Victor Talking Machine Company (eventually RCA Victor), as these manufacturers left Camden it’s economic downturn began and unfortunately it hasn’t stopped. Today, Camden is most known for its aquarium, baseball team, Campbells Soup Company headquarters and its dangerous reputation.
Now onto the amazing, sadly abandoned Hotel Plaza. There is VERY little I was able to find online about the hotel which makes this even more intriguing and a great candidate for me to spend some time doing archival research on. When (ok “if”) I get around to that I’ll update the post with all my findings (I’m very optimistic).
- The hotel was built in 1927
- Rumored to have been remodeled in 1947
- Hotel was further modernized in 1950 (see article below)
- Originally called the Plaza Club Hotel
- The hotel was closed in 1985
What’s happening now?
Nada. Nothing. Camden is trying. The Aquarium and Riversharks stadium along the river are proof that they are and that it can work. Currently, Rutgers is building an Early Learning Research Academy directly across the street from the Hotel Plaza slated to open in 2011. I can only see that as a sign of hope.
Information gathered from:
The New York Times
Cached version of this random website: http://www.dvrbs.com/camden/CamdenNJ-PlazaHotel.htm