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"Yorkship Village (known as Fairview today) is, historically, the nation's first federally-funded planned community. Yorkship Village was acknowledged historically significant in 1974 by acceptance on the National and New Jersey State Registers of Historic Places.

"During the First World War, fighting ships were constructed in the New York Shipyard (Camden, NJ) at an ever-increasing rate. As more and more shipyard workers came into the area to live, a housing shortage developed. The US Government contracted for more housing and assembled Urban Planners to lay out the village. These same planners that researched the architecture of Europe and were eager to test their newfound ideas, were put to the task.

"The concept of a planned community came from Europe in 1918. The architectural theory was to incorporate the ingredients that made the ideal self-contained community. Architects also used the experience of studies about the expansion of urban housing and the need to provide a garden environment. These studies about European architecture were used to plan Yorkship Village as a garden section of the city.

"Subsequently, Yorkship Village was the creation of architects that resulted in a newly constructed village, reminiscent of an old English village, that appears to reach back further in history, yet utilizes the innovative planning concepts of that era."

Significant architectural features, as outlined in the above brochure, are given below.

  1. Varying structural design, all under the umbrella of the Colonial Revival Style, providing unification of the Village, yet permitting individual and different types of construction.

  2. Two-story construction, keeping the village to human scale.

  3. Arrangement of buildings to one another, an effort to change the monotonous parallel lines of row houses that were common during the era of construction.

  4. Winding streets, affording an ever-changing vista for travelers.

  5. The garden effect: placement of trees on public and private land; commons with areas of grass in the center islands of streets and on areas in front of houses that are set back from the street.

  6. Inclusion of churches, schools, stores, apartments, a hotel, community gymnasium (used as a Town Hall), and athletic fields - the complete self-contained community.

  7. A town square (Yorkship Square), the focal point of the village with a park for the garden area and planned stores to serve as the center of attraction for the villagers.

  8. Varying brickwork patterns, the result of foremen competing to make the brickwork most interesting. Take note of the gable ends on some of the brick houses to see the individualized brickwork patterns that are set in circles and squares.

  9. Architecture, including two bedroom row houses, semi-detached two and three bedroom houses, and larger single homes. Type of construction varies with most structures built of solid brick walls. Also included are stucco exterior over firebrick and frame houses.

  10. Noteworthy is the fact that the larger, single (unattached) houses were intended for supervisory staff of the New York Shipyard.


A note from the Webmaster.

I visited Fairview in October of 2001 and stayed with my mother, Agnes F. Ruiz at 2848 Idaho Road. Al Rose, of Al Rose Apothecary, 2940 Yorkship Square and President of the Fairview Historic Society, invited me to talk at the society's meeting (3081 Fenwick Road) on Wednesday evening, October 10, 2001. At that time I outlined an idea for a Fairview web site rich in photos of Fairview. The plan was first to develop a virtual tour of Fairview based on the above brochure. Instead of walking through Fairview to see the features on the tour map, web surfers from anywhere in the world could take a virtual tour.

The next day, Jeff Merkel, Housing Rehabilitation Coordinator from the Fairview Historic Society gave my late brother Dennis and me the tour of Fairview. Den drove, Jeff guided, and I snapped many digital photos. You will see Den (left) and Jeff (right) sitting on a park bench in Yorkship Square if you take the tour.

The Fairview photos have been assembled and keyed to the tour map of the brochure, which you can access from the left menu (Virtual Tour). The combination of fine weather and the proximity to Halloween revealed a Fairview with much of its charm from the past.

I hope former Fairview residents, now scattered in many different regions, can experience the magic of Fairview once again by taking the virtual tour.

Click Fairview map for a large map with names of roads from Lenny's Realtor. You may need this since the tour map has no street names as letters would be too small to easily read. By the way, it was a Mr. Lenny (September 1961), who rushed my brother Ken to West Jersey Hospital when a Rambler hit Ken on his bicycle as he dashed out of the alley behind Lenny's into America Road.

Michael J. Ruiz
December 18, 2004

Former Fairview Resident
2848 Idaho Road (1950-1972)

Professor of Physics
University of North Carolina at Asheville