Main Street, East Side
Camden is located
near the northwest corner of Oneida County, and is bordered on the
south by Little River. The west branch of Fish Creek flows through the town, and unites
with Mad River at Camden village.
Camden had its beginning after the Revolutionary
War, when plans were made to settle the land west of the Hudson River. In
1791 a company headed by Nicholas and John Roosevelt purchased
500,000 acres of land
in central New York, which included most of Oneida and Oswego Counties
and part of Herkimer County. Later the Roosevelts sold the land
to George Scriba, who was a member of their company, and it became
as Scriba’s Patent. Part of Scriba’s Patent became the
Town of Camden on March 5, 1799. The first town meeting was held in
a rough log hut built by Samuel Royce, one of the town’s first
settlers. The town was briefly known as “Linley,” but
was given the name of Camden by the Oneida Indian tribe.
Main Street, North
Among the first to buy land in Camden was
Jesse Curtiss. He built a sawmill on Fish Creek at the
Mexico Street Bridge in 1794 or 1795,
but did not make a home here until later. Judge Henry Williams, for
whom Williamstown was named, was Camden’s
first permanent settler. He and his wife settled at Cook’s
Crossing, which is now known as Harden Boulevard, around 1797.
The first pioneers who settled in Camden
chose the strip of land between the west branch of Fish Creek and
Mad River to establish the village. It was level yet high enough to prevent flooding. The village was incorporated
The first Camden school began in 1800 and
was located in what is now the village park. In 1823
a school called the New Academy was held
on the south side of the village park. This was followed in 1824
by a school for young ladies and little girls. Next came the
Old Academy, which operated at the site of Stoddard’s store. The town hall
was the site of a private school in 1842 — 1843. In 1844
the town hall provided a place for a normal school. The first
started operation in 1847 on Union Street and was rebuilt after
a fire. The school was expanded in the 1 930s to house elementary,
senior high schools.
Camden Knitting Company
First Church of Christ founded in 1798, was Camden’s first
church. In 1807 this organization built a log meetinghouse in West
Camden. The First Congregational Church of Camden was also organized
in 1798. The first meetinghouse was a rough log structure 56 by 44
feet, enclosed but unheated, with rough benches and a temporary pulpit.
In 1836, improvements were made in the building; however in 1867, it
burned to the ground.
first factories began at the lower part of Third Street, where
Fish Creek provided excellent water-power. Among these
factories in 1832 was a foundry run by Horace McIntyre and James
factory to make use of waterpower of this area was Dana’s Sash
and Blind Factory, which operated from 1891-1941. The Conant Chair
Factory began operation in 1851 in the north part of town.
In 1864, C. A. Boehm, a wagon woodworker,
and James Stark, a blacksmith,
came from Boonville and purchased a carriage shop on Church Street,
next to the town hall. In 1871 Mr. Stark started a shop of his own
on Main Street. The
Boehms carried on their business, making all kinds of horse-drawn vehicles,
specializing in travois bobs and cutters until the advent of the automobile
gradually put an end to their business.
McCall Brothers Canning Factory was formed
in 1872 on the corner of Waldron and Taberg Roads. L.
P. Haviland’s canning
business was developed from a small business which began in 1866. In
1883, the Camden Knitting Mill was the parent of a cordon of knitting
goods factories that stretched across central
New York. The founders
and principal owners were W. J. Frisbie and W. H. Stansfield. J. M.
Young & Sons Furniture Factory began
operation in 1890.
The Camden Wire Company was formed in 1929
to fabricate copper wire and wire products. With four plants in the
Camden area it is the principal
employer. In the early 1930s the company installed and began use of
fine wire drawing equipment.
The Farnsworth family has owned and operated
a printing business in Camden since 1886. At that time, they specialized in the
milk tickets. These were coupons bought from a dairy and used as a
means of ordering and at the same time paying for home-delivered dairy
The Mystic Stamp Company was begun by Lawrence
Shaver when he was a very young man. This company has served stamp collectors all over
the world. It had small beginnings in a few rooms over the old post
office building. With its growth it has expanded to larger headquarters
in the old Presbyterian Church building on Main Street.
Unique to our area is the Camden Continental
Fife and Drum Corps, which began in Taberg as the Taberg Drum Corps. There
it was active in Civil War drills and also helped train units for
the army. In 1942 the corps was
moved to Camden and adopted its distinctive American Revolutionary-style
Another feature unique to Camden is Forest
Park, a tract of woodland covering more than 100 acres, with well-kept
roads, footpaths and picnic
pavilions established and maintained for the pleasure of area residents.
Since 1856 nearly all of the business section
of Main Street has been burned, some parts more than once. Terrible
as these fires were, the end result was that Camden’s business
district was built and rebuilt and is now more modern than those
of many similar towns.