The Philadephia Inquirer, Thursday Morning, June 20, 1918

"Village Rising as if by Magic to House Workers of Big Camden Ship Building Plant," The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 20, 1918, p. 14. Click on image for larger view.


The photograph shows Yorkship Village, which is being built in the southwestern section of Camden,
to house the workers of the New York Shipbuilding Company.


$6,000,000 Village
For N.J. Ship Labor


"Yorkship," Near Camden,
to Contain 2000 Homes,
Schools, Churches


Will Have Sewage Plant and
Trolley Lines Connecting
With Nearby City


One of the most complete and extensive housing developments being carried out by the Emergency Fleet Corporation in connection with its great shipbuilding plants on the Delaware, is being pushed to conclusion with utmost speed for the accommodation of some 5000 workmen of the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, on a 140-acre farm property within half a mile of the shipyard, at an ultimate cost of $6,000,000.

The first building, a five-family structure of two-and-a-half stories, now being used temporarily as an administration house, was erected within seven days. That is to say the concrete foundations were finished in three days and the brick walls and a tight roof were up in thirty-six working hours.

The new track will be known as Yorkship Village, and will be the Thirteenth ward of the city of Camden, which recently acquired the entire area from Haddon. The ultimate development will include more than 2000 houses, a complete sewage disposal plant of its own, churches, schools, public buildings, trolley lines connecting with the main route past the shipyard and on Broadway into the heart of Camden.

Ideal Homes the Aim

The chief though behind this unique and most extraordinary evolution, probably in all America, is to provide adequate, comfortable, permanent and artistic homes in an ideal setting, as economically and speedily as possible for the sole profit and advantage of the workmen in the shipyard, bending their every energy to the successful promotion of this country's potential part in the great world war.

Laid out on quiet and restful lines, with a large open central square, diagonally radiating avenues with broad commons running centrally throughout their length, and the surrounding streets forming an octagon, the village as sketched by the architect reminds one of nothing else so much as an old, collegiate town of Western Massachusetts. The colonial aspect as well as the college atmosphere is preserved in the detail of the concrete sidewalks, marked off in flag stones, the shadowing elms, the gabled and white-columned houses, the spired churches and the collective dwellings built somewhat on the dormitory style.

While the dwellings provided will number 907, they will be included within but 239 buildings. Each structure will be either a single home or a detached building containing from one to nine homes, so designed that the standard sameness is eliminated to a considerable degree. All of the buildings in this modern twentieth century village are to be largely fireproof with concrete fundations and brick walls.

There are 200 houses under construction, which will be ready for occupancy soon, in an existing section of Camden close to the shipyard and the village, but entirely separate and on the city block plan. One thousand houses, in addition to those now under way in Yorkship Village, will be built just as soon as the requisite appropriations for improvements are secured from the city of government of Camden.

A year ago the New York Shipbuilding Corporations's payroll carried about 5000 men. Now there are about 11,000 men at work and a year hence will see more than 20,000 men building ships at the New York Shipbuilding Company's yards. A year ago Camden had less than two hundred vacant houses fit for occupancy. At present there are none, and a year from now the plans for extension of the corporation's shipyard will necessitate the doubling of Yorkship Village.

An additional one thousand houses are now promised. Building 2100 houses instead of 1100 would add more than ten percent to the housing capacity of Camden and would permit its industries to expand at a time when most cities are badly hampered for lack of labor, transportation and housing.

The village lies within the angle made by Mt. Ephraim avenue, the county road between Camden and Atlantic City and Collings road, running from Collingswood to Gloucester, and is restricted on the north and west by the north branch of Newton creek.

Just now there are nearly 3000 men working on the building, grading and improvement operations, with 250 teams in use. A temporary railroad freight yard has been constructed connecting with the Reading Railway, with five tracks from 500 to 1000 feet long, and a daily capacity of handling 150 cars. The building materials of all kinds brought into this yard are transferred to cars on an industrial railway system, the terminal tracks of which dovetial into the freight yard. The industrial tracks are to be laid temporarily through all of the five miles of streets in the village in order to get the quickest possible distribution of supplies.

One of the most important features of the development at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation's plant, under the management of A. Merritt Taylor, director of the Department of Housing and Transportation of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, is the tremendous improvement in the transportation service. And this system, incidentally, will be extended to the village.

The lines of the Public Service Company are being worked to capacity and thirty-two new cars will soon be placed in operation.

Solve Street Car Problem

The solution of the street car problem has resulted in the carrying of more than a thousand men who would otherwise be compelled to walk. Three special trains have been put on the West Jersey and Seashore Electric line and more than twenty-five or thirty trains which used to pass by Fairview street station without stopping, have been scheduled to make stops. The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad has also rearranged its train schedules and put on one special train in order that the shipyard might be served.

In providing connections with Yorkship Village a $150,000 trestle, some thousand feet in length, is to be built over the creek. A fifty-foot span bridge is to be constructed over the creek to carry the eighty-foot boulevard.

Yorkship Village is being built in accordance with plans prepared by E. D. Litchfield, a New York architect. The engineering work and construction are under the direction of Lockwood, Greene & Company, engineers, and the principal contractors are the Tide Water Building Company for the houses and the Miles-Tighe Contracting Company, of Easton, Pa., for grading streets, etc.

Digitized strictly for educational use.

Article and Image Courtesy "The Philadelphia Inquirer" and

Editorial changes from original.

  • Capitalized "village" in "Yorkship Village" when it wasn't capitalized
  • Capitalized "camden" when it wasn't capitalized
  • "larlye fireproof" replaced with "largely fireproof"
  • "per cent." replaced by "percent"
  • "industrials tracks" replaced by "industrial tracks"

Last Update:
April 15, 2019

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