The first clock appeared above City Hall in 1876. Camden's new City Hall opened early that year, although the clock was not yet in place. The first town clock in the tower of the City Hall was placed in position in May of 1876. It cost $3,575, and rang out the hours for the first time on May 26, 1876. 

When the city government determined to build a new City Hall in the late 1920s, the architectural firm of Edwards & Green placed four clocks, one facing in each direction, above the 17th floor. The clocks and the elevator machinery room above it give City Hall an overall height of 22 stories. 

The Clock above Camden's 1876 City Hall. This building was in use until the present City Hall was finished in late 1930. 

Photographed from the corner of 5th and Federal Streets, this picture, taken in 1930, shows City Hall and the clock tower under construction. 

October 10, 1936- The Zeppelin Hindenburg passes just north of City Hall.

July 5, 2004- 
City Hall and the clock tower as seen from the corner of
North 5th and Pearl Streets.

Charles Haines operates Haines Clock Repair and for 24 years has maintained the four clocks atop Camden City Hall.

Camden Courier-Post - May 28, 2004

Repairman found time for a second career
Former accountant is responsible for clocks atop Camden City Hall

If you are looking up at the skyline of the city, it's hard to miss one of the four clocks that grace the top of City Hall. They're a good in­dicator for 1-676 commuters as to whether they'll be on time.

Ever wonder what makes them tick?

For the past 24 years, it has been Charles Haines, a Morrisville, Pa., resident who operates Haines Clock Repair.

A self-taught clock repairman who got bored with accounting, Haines cares for only a couple of big clocks in the area. And, to be honest, the four clocks atop Camden City Hall may not be the most interesting.

If you think the top of the building is graced by giant gears and weights, you'll be disappointed by a trip to the 18th floor.

"I am not really thrilled that (these clocks) are electric," said Haines.

For such mechanical wonders, you might take a trip to the Burlington City's Endeavor Fire Company No. 1 or the Gloucester County courthouse in Woodbury, Haines said.

The motors that drive Camden's four clocks fit into a room the size of a broom closet, where Haines makes his adjustments and generally finds that the clocks run well.

"Three of them do, at least," he said. The clock facing the county's administration building and Broadway is a little testy because of a poor bearing.

But, for the most part, the clocks are on time, even if the public feels differently.

Haines, who makes trips up and down the City Hall elevator to double-check his work, was staring at one of them from outside when a woman came up to him and said, "Don't bother looking at those things. They are never right."

Haines generally comes in to turn the clocks forward at the beginning of daylight savings time and back when standard time returns.