Created By: Camden County Historical Society
Red Hill- Bank located in Forest Hill Park, once the site of a confrontation between Dutch fur traders in 1632 and the residing Native Americans. .Dutch Navigator David Pietersz de Vries was the first European to sail up the Cooper River when he made a return trip to the Delaware River in 1632 to find the bones of the 34 colonists he had left at the Fort Nassau the year before. De Vries spared the Lenni Lenape who confessed to the massacre and took no revenge because he needed to trade for food. The Lenni Lenape then decoyed De Vries to Timmerkill (Cooper’s Creek) where they said the food was stored. De Vries sailed up the creek and anchored near Red Hill (the bluff overlooking Baird Boulevard Bridge today). That night a young Lenni Lenape mother, hearing that the men of her tribe planned to slay the Dutch when they landed the next day, paddled a canoe to De Vries’ vessel and told him of the plot. De Vries made his escape and soon after sailed out of the Delaware abandoning the Dutch effort to colonize New Jersey.
Red Hill, also known as Ward’s Hill, was formed during the ice age, when the sun’s rays struck and melted the Cooper’s east bank faster than the west bank. Camden’s park commission constructed the gazebo shown on top of Red Hill in this photo. Camden County constructed a half-size replica of this gazebo at Challenge Grove Park in Cherry Hill. The Camden City Park Commission also erected a white marble statue of General George Washington praying at Valley Forge on top of Red Hill. Officials moved the statute to the Justice Center in downtown Camden in 1985 to protect it from vandalism.
This view of the Cooper River and Camden shows three boys climbing steps to the top of Red Hill in Forest Hill (Farnham) Park near Baird Boulevard Bridge. From left to right in the background are the brick buildings of the Camden Iron Works, the white buildings of the Cooper Hospital, the city trash incinerator chimney, low buildings bellowing to N.Z. Graves, and the General Chemical Company. The New Jersey Highway Department constructed Admiral Wilson Boulevard through the wetlands and tidal marshes adjacent to the Cooper River on the right.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Lower Cooper River