Pan - Camden, NJ
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 56.885 W 075° 07.527
18S E 489283 N 4422002
Quick Description: This is one of several whimsical statues from the 20s with a fairy tale and nursery rhyme theme. This sculpture and all the rest were made by Albert Laessle and grace the Eldridge Johnson Park and Camden Branch Library.
Location: New Jersey, United States
Date Posted: 3/5/2009 4:24:27 PM
Waymark Code: WM5Z75
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
Views: 5

Long Description:

These sculptures and the park are a contributor to the Historic Cooper Street District found on the NRHP. Other bronze pieces in the Park by the same Philadelphia sculptor, Albert Laessle, include "Billy”, “Dancing Goat”, “Turtle and Duck". These statues were commissioned especially for Johnson Park. These sculptures are listed in the Academy's catalogue, American Sculpture in the Museum of American Art of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1997). "Pan" is actually a representation of the Greek god of shepherds and flocks, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music. His name originates within the Greek language, from the word paein, meaning "to pasture".[2] He has the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat, in the same manner as a faun or satyr. As depicted in the statues, he plays the panpipes

The Cooper Branch Library is the centerpiece of this park and is a NRHP site. Local inventor and philanthropist Eldridge R. Johnson, founder of the Victor Talking Machine Company, donated the Neo-Classical Cooper Library and the surrounding Johnson Park to the city of Camden. As a result this statue and the other ones were commissioned and subsequently installed. Over the years, vandals, thugs, crackheads and an assortment of criminals have vandalized and committed horrible acts of destruction. It seems these statues are always being fixed, renovated or repaired.

Eldridge R. Johnson Park, and the Cooper Library which stands at the park’s center, represent one of the most significant and unique cultural, historic, and artistic resources in the City of Camden and the State of New Jersey. Built between 1914 and 1930, the park occupies an entire block near Camden's waterfront. When it opened in 1918, the site became Southern New Jersey's foremost cultural center. Today, the library houses the Walt Whitman Cultural Arts Center and is owned by Rutgers University. In roman numerals, carved in the granite (or possibly marble) in back of the huge columns can be found the date this library was opened, MCMXVI. On top of the engraved date is a massive mosaic depicting Europe's contributions to our country.

Eldridge Johnson commissioned D'Ascenzo Studios of Philadelphia to design and produce the magnificent frieze at the Library and the beautiful stained glass window, the “Nipper" window, in the RCA-Victor building in Camden, New Jersey. It took two years to complete the work.

"JOHNSON PARK, Cooper St. Between 2nd and Front Sts., is an attractively landscaped block in the shadow of tall buildings of the RCA-Victor plant. In the center stands the Cooper Branch Library (open 9-9 weekdays), a neoclassic building erected in 1919 from the plans of Karcher and Smith, Philadelphia architects. Behind a row of six Iconic columns is a mosaic frieze of opalescent glass, depicting America Receiving the Gifts of the Nations Composed of 100,000 pieces, the mosaic was executed in the D'Ascenzo Studios, Philadelphia." --- New Jersey, a Guide to Its Present and Past, 1939; page 230

The statue sits on the left side of the wading pool. If you were looking from Cooper Street toward the library, the statue would be left of center, and bisecting the wading pool. It rests upon a 2 1/2 foot rectangular, marble base, which in turn rests upon a much larger and flatter marble base, about 7i X 5' X 1'. The bronze statue itself has its own bronze, rectangular, ornate socle complete with the artists name and date inscribed in the bronze. Pan is playing his playing his panpipes )of course) and has the bottom of a goat and appears just as the initial description of the God was written at the beginning of the description. The intricate design and detail of this statue are just one aspect of this spectacular work of art. The bottom marble base is surrounded by individual hand-crafted, terra cotta tiles, all along the perimeter. They are a few inches squared in area. The best part are the five individual circular tiles art (you will just have to see the pictures) which depict various nursery rhyme characters. Rather than give it away, see if you can figure out who each one is. Some are obvious while others are a little more sublime. To the left of the statue is a oblong greek portico, rectangular shaped and long with columns supporting the roof. The whole things smacks of an ancient Greek agora. I guess that's the feeling they were going for... nursery thyme whimsical meets ancient Greece.

I found this on the NJ Trust Site: "Local inventor and philanthropist Eldridge Johnson, whose modern phonograph helped launch RCA, donated the Neo-Classical Cooper Library and surrounding Johnson Park to the city of Camden. Built between 1914 and 1930, the complex occupies an entire block near Camden's waterfront. When it opened in 1918, the site became Southern New Jersey's foremost cultural center. Today, the library houses the Walt Whitman Cultural Arts Center and is owned by Rutgers University.

Originally, the park was graced with bronze sculptures created by some of the most important sculptors of the early-twentieth century. Designed for the delight of children, the park featured a rare representation of Peter Pan by Sir George Frampton. Noted Philadelphia sculptor Albert Laessle contributed fanciful works including goats, frogs, a turtle, a duck, and the Greek god Pan.

The grant helped fund the restoration of walkways, statues and the rehabilitation of decorative foundations.


The coordinates have an accuracy of +/- 1.2 feet

Name or use 'Unknown' if not known: Pan

Figure Type: Fantasy creature

Artist Name or use 'Unknown' if not known: Albert Laessle (American, 1877-1954)

Date created or placed or use 'Unknown' if not known: 1928

Materials used: Bronze

Location: Eldridge Johnson Park

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PaHawkeye visited Pan - Camden, NJ 6/14/2011 PaHawkeye visited it