David Baird Sr. passed on more than just his name to David Baird Jr. My research into the residents of Camden’s 804 Cooper Street revealed an affluent family headed by David Baird Sr. and subsequently his son David Jr. The family occupied the house from about 1892 until sometime in the early 1930’s. David Sr. acquired the family’s wealth as a lumber merchant and established the David Baird Lumber Company, which was located at 425 N. Delaware in Camden. The David Baird Lumber Company became a successful family business where David Sr. and his two sons worked.
804 Cooper Street was built around 1888 by real estate developer Edward N. Cohn. The house had up to 12 residents and must have been sizable Given the successful businesses of Cohn and Baird, 804 was presumably a very nice home. It was at the southeast corner of Cooper and North 8th streets, which would technically place it outside the Cooper Street Historic District. This leaves me to wonder why the Historic District boundary was placed at 7th Street.
Mr. Cohn, a co-founder of the Roberts & Cohn real estate company that was responsible for erecting numerous buildings throughout Camden, only occupied the home for about two years. By 1892 the Camden city directory reveals that his widow, Adelia T. Cohn, and her domestic servant, Elizabeth Healy, lived in the house. Elizabeth was far from the last servant to live in the house. The 1900, 1910, and 1930 censuses revealed four servants living in the house each of those years, which spoke to the affluence of the Baird family. Strangely, no record of the address is found in the 1920 census.
In addition to the widow Cohn and her servant, David Baird Sr. moved into 804 in 1892 from his home at 425 N. 4th Street, which was closer to his lumber business. Baird lived in the house until his death in 1927 and was a prominent member of the community, serving as a sheriff and a United States Senator. His eldest son, Irvine, lived in the house off and on with his wife May. His younger son, David Jr., lived there from the time of his birth in 1882 until at least 1931. By 1935 David Jr. and his wife, Frances, had moved to Delaware Township, New Jersey. The Baird brothers worked with their father and David Jr. took over as General Manager of the David Baird Co. in 1929, after David Sr.’s death.
I have been unable to find any record of 804 Cooper St. after 1931 so I suspect it was torn down at some point soon thereafter. The parking lots of the Environment Community Opportunity Charter School at 817 Carpenter Street and the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 800-840 Cooper Street cover where the house once stood. I took a walk around these structure but there were no cornerstones that could have narrowed the window of time in which 804 was demolished.
Camden County Historical Society