In this book, Jeffery M. Dorwart chronicles more than three centuries of Camden County history. He takes readers on a journey, from the earliest days as a Native American settlement, to the county's important roles in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, Camden City's booms and busts, the county's increasing suburbanization, and concluding with current inner-city revitalization efforts.
Dorwart details how the earliest European settlers radically changed the local Native American culture and introduced black slavery. In the Revolutionary War, the county's location directly across the Delaware River from Philadelphia placed it at the crossroads of the American Revolution. Dorwart examines the county's conflicted roles during the Civil War, when the older agrarian population, which held traditional social and economic ties to the slave-owing South, clashed with the increasingly industrialized interests of the urban waterfront, which showed strong Unionist tendencies. He explores the changing demographics of the area as waves of European immigrants came to work in the factories. He surveys the rise and fall of first Camden City, then of the suburbs, as both areas experienced population ebbs and flows. Finally, Dorwart looks at the revitalization efforts of 2000 when Camden County began efforts to reinvent the riverfront community where it all began.