South 4th Street & Cinton Street
Northeast Corner of South 4th & Clinton Streets
CENTRAL SCHOOL's origins go back to the earliest days of public education in Camden. The school drew its name from the fact that it was in the Middle Ward, one of the three wards in Camden prior to the 1871 Charter going into place, the others being the North and South Wards.
Camden's Board of Education in 1877 decided to replace the old school, which stood at South 4th Street and Hartman Street (present-day Clinton Street) with a new building, using the same plans by local architect Stephen Decatur Button that were employed in building the Fetters, Mulford and Mickle Schools. The new school opened in October of 1877.
The neighborhood saw a huge influx of people during the next forty years, many of them immigrants from Italy. Overcrowding was recognized as a problem, and the lack of a kindergarten in particular was a source of worry to parents and civic-minded people in the city.
In mid-1923 the Board of Education decided to builds an addition to Central School. This plan was abandoned in September, as it was thought the property was too small and that the addition as planned might make things worse instead of better. The Board subsequently purchased the then 63 year-old Second Presbyterian Church, which stood in the adjacent block to the Central School, on the southeast corner of South 4th & Benson Streets, for $3,500. The church was renamed Central School Annex and was ready for students on November 30, 1925.
Neither building was fireproof, and both were far below standards for either safety or education. In 1934 using the 0-1000 Strayer-Englhardt Score Card for rating schools, the Annex scored a 287, so inferior that the school should have been abandoned. The old Central School was even worse, with a score of 246, lowest in the city. This however, was at the height of the depression, there simply was no money, and the schools remained open. Both were still in use as late as 1959. Not until the ill-fated Bergen-Lanning School was built in the 1960s was it possible for the Central School and Annex to be abandoned. By 1965 the old Central school building had been razed.
While the old school building is long gone, the church which housed the Central School Annex during five decades remains and has returned to its original function. As of July 2006 the old annex was the home of the New Mickle Baptist Church.
Camden Courier-Post - June 1, 1933
TEACHERS GIVEN A DINNER
retiring are Miss Daisy Y. Furber, principal, and Miss Mary V. Yerkes and Miss
Harriette G. Taylor. Twenty-two teachers gathered in their honor in the
Whitman room and they enjoyed
games and the presentation of gifts and the dinner.
Kathryn Wieand was toastmistress and presented a fitted
suitcase to Miss Ferber, a jewe1ed pin to Miss Yerkes and a cameo pin to
Miss Taylor on behalf of the teachers.
were offered by Miss K. E. MacGeorge, Miss M. R. Klein, Miss R. Bonne
and Miss Mary MacDona1d.
teachers attending were:
Miss M. Rinard, Miss M.
Mountford, Miss A. Halbert, Miss I.L. Gaudelli, Miss J. Calio, Miss C. Melson,
Miss S. Harrison, Miss R. Berry, Miss H. MacDonald, Miss G. Davis, Miss
J. Baker, Miss M. Williams, Miss M. Nicholson and Miss A. Selby.
Camden Courier-Post * June 16, 1933
Eight retiring school principals were honored last night at a banquet in the junior ballroom of Hotel Walt Whitman by the Camden Principals' Association.
Amid decorations of roses and spring flowers these teachers, who have served the city from 35 to 40 years, heard words of praise from their schoolmates and superiors.
They are Miss Daisy Furber, Central School; Mrs. Margaret Thomson, Northeast; Miss Minerva Stackhouse, Davis; Miss Bessie Snyder, McKinley; Miss Clara S. Burrough, Camden High; Miss Helen Wescott, Mulford; Miss Loretta Ireland, Cooper; Miss Charlotte V. Dover, Washington.
Harry Showalter, president of the association, presided. Eighty guests represented the entire school system of 38 institutions. Showalter, Dr. Leon N. Neulen, superintendent of schools, and Dr. James E. Bryan, retired superintendent, joined in paying tribute to the retiring principals as having set a high example for Camden's school system.
The male teachers serenaded the women instructors and vice versa with song. At the closing the teachers joined hands at the suggestion of Dr. Bryan and sang "Auld Lang Syne." .
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