Camden- with an estimated population of 79,904- was originally a suburban town with ferry service to Philadelphia. Soon, Camden evolved into its own city as industry and neighborhoods grew. Camden prospered during strong periods of manufacturing demand and faced harsh economic downturns during periods of industry decline and shift to off-shore factory locations.
Camden is founded on the original site of Fort Nassau, built by the Dutch West India Company in 1626. It was built to accommodate the local fur trade between the Swedish, Dutch, and the Lenni Lenape people who called the area home before European colonists arrived. Soon, others arrived in the area such as the Quakers from across the river who founded Philadelphia. Transportation and trade between the two cities helped to build Camden into a shipping and industrial center of the region.
Camden has a rich cultural heritage and has been the home of some iconic inventions that changed the cultural landscape of the United States, and the world. Camden is the place where the first drive-in theater opened, invented by Richard Hollingshead, on June 6, 1933. In 1901 the Victor Talking Machine Company (RCA Victor) established operations in the city. Campbell Soup also got its start in Camden and today the original building houses a new high tech facility where Martin Marietta established operations, and in 1994 merged with Lockheed to become one of the largest military contractors in the country, Lockheed Martin. The original Victor building, known as the "Nipper Building" went through an extensive renovation to become luxury condominiums aptly named "Radio Lofts."
One of the most popular attractions in the city is the Delaware River waterfront. Hosted on the waterfront are the USS New Jersey, the Tweeter Center, Campbell's Field, and the Adventure Aquarium. Other attractions at the Waterfront are the Wiggins Park Riverstage and Marina, One Port Center, The Victor Lofts, the Walt Whitman House, the Walt Whitman Cultural Arts Center, the Rutgers-Camden Center For The Arts, and the Camden Children's Garden.