CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY

LABOR TEMPLE
later known as the BROADWAY COMMUNITY CENTER
538 BROADWAY

The Labor Temple - 1930s
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The Labor Temple at 538 Broadway was built in 1920 at the corner of Broadway and Royden Streets, in Camden NJ. In the era before radio and television, there were many such halls that were among the primary sources for social activity and recreation. The Masons, Eagles, Elks and the Improved Order of Red Men all had magnificent buildings in Camden.

The Labor Temple was built in 1920, with offices on the first floor, and a ballroom on the second floor. The Central Labor Union, an organization that eventually was incorporated into the AFL-CIO, occupied the building from 1936 through 1942, and was probably the organization that most likely had the building erected originally. Perhaps as a means to generate revenue for the upkeep of the building or to pay the mortgage and or taxes, space was rented out, and the Schroeder Funeral Service operated out of 538 Broadway in the late 1920s. 

By 1942 the Labor Temple, along with the Eagles Hall, at 413-415-417 Broadway, had been taken over by the City of Camden for non-payment of taxes. The buildings were put up for sale in November of that year. The Eagles Hall was purchased by the Borstein Electric Company, which sold electric supplies, and gas appliances, air conditioning, and heating equipment  until the mid-1950s. 

-continued

Camden Courier-Post * February 24, 1936

SECURITY CHAPTER WILL HOLD SESSION
Interprofessional Association to Hold First Meeting Here Thursday Night

Dr. Martin Steinberg, of Philadelphia, and Mrs. Mary Foley Grossman, teacher and economist, will be the principal speakers at the first meeting of the Camden Chapter of the Interprofessional Association, Thursday night, at the Labor Temple, 538 Broadway.

Florence Frisch Fox, of 1267 Magnolia Avenue, chairman pro tem of the Camden chapter, said the association is a national organization with chapters functioning in all the larger cities of the United States, and with national headquarters in New York.

"Our purpose," the chairman said, "is social security. Through co-operation in professional groups, our object is to help solve this problem of insecurity which looms greater and darker than ever before." 

 Miss Mary Van Kleeck, noted economist, is national chairman of the association. Francis F. Kane, recipient of the 1935 Bok Award, is chairman of the Philadelphia chapter.

Various representatives of the professions in Camden County will attend the first meeting of the Camden chapter, including Dr. Thomas K. Lewis, Dr. G. Russell Atkinson and Arthur B. Gill, it was announced.

Camden Courier-Post * October 20, 1936


Camden Courier-Post
October 29, 1936

Harry R. Roye - Bart Sheehan - Henry Lodge
George E. Brunner - Abe Fuhrman
Oliver Bond - Samuel W. Strauss
Meyer Wessel - E. George Aaron
John L. Morrissey
David Baird Jr. - Sadie Harris
Dr. Ernest M. Larossa

Camden Courier-Post - February 19, 1938

Labor Temple - John F. Daly - Neil Deighan - John O'Neal - Charles Hollopeter
James W. Bamford - A.K. Plone - Charles Pierson -
Broadway - Royden Street

Camden Courier-Post * February 28, 1938

DRAMA GROUP TO STAGE MINSTRELSY TONIGHT 

The second annual minstrel show will be given by the Good Will Dramatic Association tonight at the Labor Temple, Broadway and Royden street, for the benefit of the Second Ward Women's Republican Club. 

The show was written and is directed by Mrs. Dorothea W. Bleidorn, who will be interlocuter. 

Mrs. Esther Rowand, Mrs. Geneva Reinhard, Mrs. Bertha Clayton and Mrs. Elizabeth Stanton, will be end men. 

Others in the cast are Mrs. Charlotte Schwaiger, Mrs. Emma Evans, Mrs. Alice Weisbrod, Mrs. Margaret Worrell, Mrs. Florence Boenning, Mrs. Sylvia Clydesdale, Mrs. Christina Breece, Mrs. Roberta Gorman, Mrs. May Eastlack and Mrs. Carrie Helser.

Camden Courier-Post
November 1942

By 1947, the Labor Temple had become the home of the State Employment Service, the State Unemployment Compensation Commission, and the State Department of Veterans Services.

In the 1960s and 1970s the building became the home of the Broadway Community Center. The upstairs auditorium with its wood floors, was used for a host of activities, including roller skating. The building presently host offices of the Camden Office of Economic Opportunity.

In 2005 none of the buildings from the days of fraternal glory are still in use by their old occupants, most are long gone from the city, as are most of the other old service and social clubs.    

The Labor Temple - April 19, 2003
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