RICHARD BENJAMIN GONDOLF SR. was born July 14, 1904, the second of four children born to Peter and Marian Gondolf. His uncle, Edward Gondolff, was the owner and operator of the Temple Bar & Hotel at 407-409 Market Street in Camden prior to his death in April of 1918. At the time of the 1920 Census, the Gondolf family lived at 674 Fairview Street. Peter Gondolf was serving as a patrolman on the Camden Police Department, while older brother Harold, then 19, had found work at the nearby New York Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard.
When homes became available for purchase in the recently built Yorkship Village development, Peter Gondolf soon stepped in, buying homes at 3001 and 3007 Fenwick Road. Prohibition was in effect, and it is alleged the he ran a speakeasy on premises. By the time of the 1930 census he had left the police department, and listed his occupation as "real estate". 3007 Fenwick Road's clientele included many influential people from the Camden County political arena. Due in part to this influential clientele, after Prohibition was repealed, Mr. Gondolf and friends were able to organize a private club and acquired an official state liquor license, under the name "The Fairview Grill Association" was born. The bar was popularly known as the Fairview Garedens, this name however was in use elsewhere in New Jersey, thus the "Grill Association" name. The license had to be a social club license, as zoning prohibited then and now regular bars from operating in the neighborhood. This bar later became popularly known in the area as The Pink Cat.
At the time of the 1930 Richard B. Gondolf had married, and was living over the bar at 3007 Fenwick with his wife and son Richard A. He then was a member of the Camden Police Department, as his father had been, and was in the mounted division in the early 1930's until it was disbanded for financial reasons.
Peter Gondolf passed away in 1940. His widow Marion ran the bar for a time with help from her sons. Richard Gondolf took over operation of the bar in the 1950s. Marion Gondolf passed on in 1955. When Mr. Gondolf retired, he sold the bar to Vincent and Josephine Canzanese.
Richard Benjamin Gondolf was last a resident of Woodbury NJ. He passed away in August of 1974.
Camden Evening Courier- January 28, 1930
THIEF IS TAKEN IN AUTO CHASE
Pursued for more than two miles
in a wild chase through the heart of Camden about noon today, two “shiekbandits” were captured by the man whose store they had robbed of two
Police later said they had
arrested one youth in connection with the case. He was Walter S. Nowak, 22
years old, of 442 Jackson Street, they said, and he had been booked on a
charge of “holdup in a store.” They knew nothing, they said about
two men being caught.
How he followed two “young
fellows” through the streets of the city after they had dashed from his
store with the machines in which they had “lost $2,” was repeated by
Lewis Schectman, proprietor of a general store at 708 Broadway.
The chase began when Schechtman
commandeered an automobile in front of his store. It ended when he and the
driver of the automobile captured the youths at the corner of Fourth
Street and Kaighn Avenue.
There, according to Schectman,
the youths were turned over to the patrolmen of the Second District,
Police Officers Nathan Pettit and Edward
When asked to confirm a report
that the young bandits had been arrested, Sergeant James Clay of the desk
of police headquarters, refused to show the ‘police docket’ to
newspaper reporters. Members of the patrol crew refused to give
information concerning the arrest of anybody connected with the robbery,
or any charge on which they may have been booked.
It is generally believed that
the thieves are representatives of one of the several
“syndicates” which place gambling machines in stores, saloons and
poolrooms about town. It was pointed out that often there is intense
rivalry between the competing syndicates and that it is sometimes carried
to the point where they steal each other’s equipment.
was 11:45 this morning when two young fellows, well-dressed, came into my
store.” declared Schectman.
started playing a nickel machine which is out of sight of passers by in
the corner of the store. I heard them say they lost $2. My attention was
taken up by a salesman who came into the store to collect a bill. I went
to the rear of the store to get ink with which to write a check. I heard
my wife scream murder, thieves, police, help.”
to Schectman, his wife, Jennie, 40 years old, and his 16-year old-daughter
Esther saw the youths run out of the store with the slot machine in their
arms, load them into a car parked in front of the establishment and drive
Schectman said he and
the salesman took up the chase. After he saw the bandit car pass a red
light at the corner of Broadway
Street he commandeered an
automobile, ordering the driver, whose name he did not obtain, to follow
the touring car which then had turned left into Line.
Details of the chase
were told by Schectman.
The bandits were followed west on up to Fifth street. Their car swerved from Fifth to Chestnut, and turned southwest on Newton Avenue until it reached Kaighn Avenue.
“They then swung west
Avenue and drove toward the
ferry. We were about a half a square behind them, all the way.”
Down to the ferry plaza, the bandits swung their car around in the ferry driveway, and dashed back up Kaighn Avenue until they reached Fourth Street.
‘We yelled ‘murder,
police, robbers’ all the way.’ Schectman declared.
they had turned the corner on to Fourth Street, the robbers, apparently
frightened, jumped from their machine and ran north on Fourth Street.
Schectman and his friend followed, caught up with them and collared them.
telephone call brought the Second District police patrol.
slot machines which contained about $50 were confiscated by the police,
touring car used by the bandits in their attempted get away had no rear
license tag. On the front was a license p1ate with C-16207 N.J.
Schectman said he believed the car had been stolen. The car was a Flint touring car.
this afternoon revealed that this license was issued for a 1927 blue
Chrysler sedan, on January L to Richard
Gondolf, 3037 Fenwick Road, Fairview, at the agency of Samuel
Weinstein, 411 Kaighn
Gondolf is a son of Peter Gondolf, former policeman and who is now in the
contracting business. The son works with his father.
between 9 o’clock last night and 7 o’clock this morning the store of
William Henion at 517 Clinton
was broken into.
slot machines of the “penny’ type, containing a total of $80 were
taken. Ten boxes of cigars and an amount of candy were also stolen by the
robbers, who gained entrance by forcing a door in an unoccupied house at
the rear of the store.
A box containing $8 in pennies which lay near the machines and $2 in a cash drawer were overlooked. The break was discovered by Henion when he opened up this morning. He figured his loss at $100.
Camden Courier-Post - June 9, 1933
G.O.P. CLUB ELECTS NALLEN AS PRESIDENT
Gerald F. Nallen has been elected president of the Fourteenth Ward Republican Club.
Ruben Filddler was chosen vice-president. Other officers are Victor Gondolf, financial secretary; Robert Cardwell, recording secretary; Charles H. Genter, treasurer. The board of trustees includes Fred Schuerman, S. John Donald, Richard Gondolf, Frank Gondolf, Albert Wise, Martine Devine and William Williams.
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