During the 1910s, the Victor Talking Machine Company’s output exploded, with numerous hit records and leading the market as the preeminent record player manufacturer, by selling millions of machines. Obviously, this type of company growth inevitably leads to substantial revenue increases, and the company executives decided it was time to have their own Executive Office Building with amazing views of both Philadelphia, the Delaware River, and Johnson Park.
Previously, the Victor Co. executives shared building space with 2 floors of recording studios at Building 15, on the S.W. corner of Front and Cooper Street. Feeling cramped, they expanded across the street and built an 8 story building in 1916. This building was one of the tallest at the Camden plant, and housed a beautiful office for Eldridge Johnson and adjoining boardroom. On the 8th floor, there was an auditorium which often doubled as a recording studio.
Luckily, this building has been protected from demolition as recently as 2019, with extensive efforts to preserve the character of Building 2, including stripping non-original elements out of the building and revealing the structure as it was intended.
Besides housing executive offices, the structure is one of the most important in music history. The 8th Floor studio saw some of the most important names in music record here, including Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Enrico Caruso, the first full scale orchestral recording (of up to 100 members), and many others.
Because every major technological and musical advancement made in the Victor Company’s Camden, United States or worldwide offices and studios had to be approved by the executives in Camden, this building was the epicenter of development. The men and women who would walk these halls range from Albert Einstein, Elvis Presley, and Frank Sinatra.