Camden is at the junction of Farm roads 62 and 942, eighty miles northwest of Beaumont in east central Polk County. The site was developed by the W. T. Carter and Brother Lumber Company in 1898, after its plant at nearby Barnum had burned a year earlier. Local historians credit Mrs. W. T. Carter with naming the town, though postal historians state that surveyor T. H. Woodson named it after his former home, Camden, New Jersey. In any event, the Carter company built a successful lumber plant and company town at Camden. William Thomas and Ernest A. Carter, owners of the company, also constructed the Moscow, Camden and San Augustine Railway, which linked Camden with the Houston, East and West Texas line to the west. The wooden sawmill burned in 1910 but was rebuilt of concrete and steel. Another fire destroyed the planer mill in 1922, but it was also replaced. The Mummert Company, with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, established another smaller plant there in the early 1930s. The United States Plywood Corporation bought the W. T. Carter mill at Camden in 1968. The tiny Moscow, Camden and San Augustine line continued to be a minor tourist attraction through the early 1970s. The discovery of oil at the Camden field in 1972 also diversified the local economy. The population of Camden, estimated at 500 in 1904, had grown to 1,000 in the mid-1950s; it was reported as 1,200 in 1990 and 2000.
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Camden by the Numbers
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