Joe Zawitkowski's Bar
45 York Street
Northeast Corner of York and Point Streets

The three-story building at 45 York Street, at the corner of Point & York Streets, had already been built by 1887. Frederick Eitz, a blacksmith for the Camden & Amboy Railroad, resided there, and is listed in the 1887-1888 and 1888-1889 Camden City Directories. The 1890-1891 Directory shows that an M.A. Bruce was operating a boarding house there. Of the nine boarders listed in the directory, seven were ship carpenters, employed at the nearby shipyards.

45 York Street was being operated as tavern by 1918, when Frank Ziemski was the proprietor. He had acquired the property some time after the 1910 Census. Frank Ziemski passed away during the 1920s. The Camden City Directories indicate that Mrs. Anna Ziemski operated the establishment from 1926 through 1931, and the 1930 census shows that her daughter and son-in-law, Amanda and Joseph Schlichting, widowed daughter, Helen Olesiewicz, grandchildren Loretta and Joseph, also resided there. During the Prohibition years she sold cigars, soda, and other soft drinks, bottled across the street at Oscar B. Wiedenhammer's Bottling Works at 48-50 York street.

In the mid-1930s the establishment was known as Baker's Bar & Grill. The October 1936 New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory indicates that Mary A. Baker was at 45 York Street.

By 1939, Helen Ziemski Olesiewicz had remarried. Her new husband, Joseph G. Zawitkowski was operating the bar. Joseph and Helen Zawitkoski reamined in business at 45 York Street through at least 1969. 

Granddaughter Dianne Olesiewicz Yasik wrote in June of 2006:

My father is Joseph (just celebrated his 81st birthday this June), Helen's son, he worked many mornings and nights at the family's bar. They opened early mornings for the ship yard workers finishing up their night shift.  My grandmother made the best sandwiches.

Bob Parke, who grew up in the neighborhood recalls "...the bar was called Joe's and sloppy Joe's, but it was anything but sloppy, maybe he one time spilled a beer on one of his patrons! There was a side entrance that lead to a good size room with tables and chairs where many of the Mathis shipyard workers and others were served their lunch during the World War II years.

Joseph Zawitkowski lived his remaining years in Camden, passing away in April of 1974, a month, shortly after 80th birthday.  

The empty lot is at the southeast corner of Point and York Streets. 

901 Point, 45, 47, & 59 York are visible in this photograph. 

Click on Image to Enlarge

I went in there a couple of times to collect for my paper route. The bar was neat as pin, I don't even remember stale beer smell that a lot of places had in those days. I recall the back room with tables and chairs for the lunch crowd..

It seems to me 45 York was a three-story building. What sticks in my mind was nobody in North Camden seemed big on brick pointing, but I always remember the brick pointing there was always in great shape. It stood out.

I went in once to collect and bear in mind I was a skinny kid, I guess 5'9 or 5'10'' and weighed all of maybe 130-135 pound Anyway they offered me something to eat and a soda. I guess they thought I looked like I was sort of needy. I didn't take them up on it, but always remembered that offer of kindness. On a hot day I would get a cold drink of water. I guess most of us looked like the Dead End Kids in those days.

John Ciafrani, 
August 2004

45 York Street
Northeast Corner of Point & York
May 6, 2004

Joseph Zawitkowski ran a tavern on this corner, 45 York Street, for many years.

Click on Image to Enlarge