CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
THE VICTOR HOTEL CLUB
(also known as the Victor Cafe)
224 Market Street
This bar's history in Camden covered almost 100 years, beginning in the mid 1880s. August Hettmannsperger appears in the Camden City Directories in the years covering 1887 through 1891 as the proprietor. He called his establishment the Columbia Hotel. Hettmansperger had come to Camden from Baden, Germany in the 1870s, and appears in the 1880 Census, when he was working as a locksmith and living with wife Mary and children Emma and August Jr. at 18 South 4th Street. The Columbia Hotel was still run by August Hettmansperger as late as 1903.
By 1905 the Hettmanspergers were gone. Thomas Wilson is shown operating the business in 1905. John P. "Jack" Scannell had the bar in 1906 through 1909. Walter J. Ott traded there from 1910 through at least 1913. The bar was run by John Reilly in the years 1915 through 1924 according to Camden City Directories. From 1924 through 1932, the bar operated as the Victor Hotel, under the proprietorship of William J. Sheehan. who ran it under a "soft drink" license, i.e., he sold low alcohol content near beer. In June of 1932 Sheehan was fined and sentenced to three months in jail for operating a speakeasy. Six half-barrels of beer and 11 gallons of hard liquor had been found in a raid the previous April.
When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, a liquor license was obtained for the premises, and by 1936 the bar was known as the Hi Hatter's Club.
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