Scientology's Camden roots - 2015-07-13
Yup, the faith associated with flashy Hollywood — Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Elizabeth Moss, Jenna Elfman, Laura Prepon and recruitment at "Celebrity Centres" — has its roots in blue-collar Camden.
On Dec. 18, 1953, the church's founder, science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard Sr., and four others, met on the second floor of the Smith-Austermuhl Building at 5th and Market streets in Camden's downtown with lawyer William C. Gotshalk. The two-story brick and marble building, which still exists, housed insurance companies, financial institutions, and several law offices, including Gotshalk's.
Built in 1920, the building sits catty-corner from City Hall and just down the street from the Federal Court House, amid the once-bustling hub of commercial Camden.