Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

New Jersey Historic Trust Affiliated with the Department of Community Affairs

Rutgers University: Eldridge R. Johnson Park

Historic Preservation Bond Program
Grant Award: $174,627 (1996)
Grant Recipient: Rutgers University
County: Camden
Municipality: Camden City

Local inventor and philanthropist Eldridge Johnson, whose modern phonograph helped launch RCA, donated the Neo-Classical Cooper Library and surrounding Johnson Park to the city of Camden. Built between 1914 and 1930, the complex occupies an entire block near Camden's waterfront. When it opened in 1918, the site became Southern New Jersey's foremost cultural center. Today, the library houses the Walt Whitman Cultural Arts Center and is owned by Rutgers University.

Originally, the park was graced with bronze sculptures created by some of the most important sculptors of the early-twentieth century. Designed for the delight of children, the park featured a rare representation of Peter Pan by Sir George Frampton. Noted Philadelphia sculptor Albert Laessle contributed fanciful works including goats, frogs, a turtle, a duck, and the Greek god Pan.

The grant helped fund the restoration of walkways, statues and the rehabilitation of decorative foundations.

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