Fairview District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2013, The Gombach Group.
Fairview was designed by Electus D. Litchfield and assisted by Pliny Rogers, builder. The area consists of 1,000 homes in various combinations of row, detached, duplex and apartment units. Stores, professional offices, a library and a church are included from the original construction. A school was built by the city of Camden in the same style of architecture shortly after the completion of Fairview in 1917.
Fairview District is completely enclosed by natural boundaries with the exception of one main access route, Mt. Ephraim Avenue. The street pattern within Fairview District is generally circular with axises leading to the town square. Some streets are very narrow because the town was designed for workers who generally walk to work. Several of the main axis routes have dividing boulevards with trees. In addition to the main town square there are several smaller public greens,
Fairview, being built for workers, is very simple and uniform in design. The buildings are brick with, Colonial Revival details. The massing of the buildings and detailing is varied to prevent the monotony of uniform style. Housing units are clustered and angled to prevent the endless row. Classical detail on the housing units vary. The porches, for example, alternate in classical detail, using different forms in columns, roof pediments and door surrounds.
The public and office buildings on the square are larger in scale, though they still retain colonial details such as doorways, bay windows and cornices. The commercial storefronts are simpler and more uniform. Arcades provide walkways from the square through the commercial buildings into the surrounding residential areas. A colonial designed church stands on the edge of a smaller green with its white spire rising above the community.
In 1917, during World War I, the Emergency Fleet Corporation purchased land in what was then Haddon Township to be used for the housing for the workers at the New York Shipyard. The shipyard was the center of activity for this portion of New Jersey for the construction of ships to be used in the war. Although the actual building of the ships did not occur in the Fairview District, the industry is significant to the area because Fairview was built with the sole purpose of housing these workers and their families.
Building was begun in July of 1917 and occupancy commenced in the fall of 1917. Fairview was annexed to the city of Camden shortly after its completion. The city undertook the construction of the elementary school, Yorkship Elementary School.
Ownership of the village remained in the hands of the U.S. government through the Emergency Fleet Corporation until this corporation was dissolved in 1922. The United States Treasury Department then took over management and finally sold the village at public auction in 1923.
The neighborhood unit concept is a well known and often used theory of residential planning which was first published by Clarence Perry and his associates. It is based on six main principles which are: size, boundaries, open spaces, institution sites, local shops and internal street system.
The Fairview District generally conforms to these principles and, in some respects, goes beyond them. Its size is based on the elementary school district for Yorkship School. It is bounded by physical barriers, and therefore through traffic may by-pass the district. There are several open squares and walks plus park areas both north and south of the neighborhood. Both the school and the library are centrally located. The neighborhood shopping grouped around the square is the only real diversion from Perry's principles. The internal street system is oriented toward internal circulation and directed toward exclusion of through traffic.
The architecture developed by Electus D. Litchfield, architect and town planner, is significant because of the homogeneous use of brick and Colonial Revival details.
Notes Camden County Historical Society.
Notes HUD Office, Southern New Jersey Section.
Perry, Clarence The Neighborhood Unit Russell Sage Foundation.
† New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Kathleen J. Diller and Historic Sites Staff, Fairview District, Camden County, New Jersey, nomination document, 1973, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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