Tinicum Township

Photo and drawing collection of The Lazaretto at Essington, PA

Lazaretto Quarantine Station

The Pennsylvania Board of Health commissioned the Lazaretto Quarantine station at Tinicum in 1799. From 1801 to 1895, incoming ships, passengers, and cargo to Philadelphia and other northern Delaware River ports went through inspection at the…

Read More →
Hints of Bribery on County Bridge

Wannamaker Bridge

Today, the Wannamaker road bridge over Darby Creek connects Tinicum Township and Prospect Park. The location originally was the site of the Morris Ferry, with plans for the bridge beginning in 1847.

Read More →
Fox Grove Marina in 1901

Fox Grove Marina

Chris Templin's grandfather created Fox Grove Marina in the early twentieth century. Today, her sister and brother-in-law operate the marina. Chris's childhood home was just behind the marina.

Read More →
Contracts #1 thru #7 (complete).png

Dredging Projects

Projects to dredge the Delaware River began in 1885. The latest project aimed to deepen the river to 45 feet. There are still dredging barges on the Delaware to maintain the depth. Various locations in Tinicum, such as Little Tinicum Island and Hog…

Read More →
Reading Eagle May 24, 1890.png

Delaware River Fishing

Read More →
The Philadelphia Record Aug 4, 1895.png

Darby Creek Recreation

Read More →
Observer-Reporter Jun 5, 1987.png

Industrial Highway

Read More →
Darby Creek CT.jpg

Railroad Bridges

Read More →
The Washington Reporter Jul 16, 1965.png

Airport Expansion

Read More →
Excerpt from the Public Ledger Almanac of 1879

Marshes and Creeks

With the Delaware River to the south, Darby Creek to the northwest, and Bow Creek to the northeast, waterways formed the boundaries of Tinicum Township. Water flowed within these boundaries as well. The land itself was regularly inundated until…

Read More →

Little Tinicum Island

Little Tinicum Island is a long thin island offshore of Essington in the Delaware River. The island's marshy vegetation and tidal mud flats give testimony to Tinicum Township's environmental past. Though no permanent structures have been…

Read More →
1986 Oil Spill News Reports

1980s Oil Spills

Read More →
The Philadelphia Record Sep 7, 1909.png

Darby Creek Injuries

Read More →
Yachts and Yachting

Corinthian Yacht Club

The Corinthian Yacht Club is the oldest yacht club still operating in Tinicum Township.

Read More →
Island and the Origin of its Name

Hog Island

Separated from Tinicum Island by a backchannel of the Delaware River, Hog Island was used intermittently for agriculture until 1917. The U.S. government comissioned the construction of a shipyard on the swampy patch of land during World War I. The…

Read More →
Memorials of the Swedish Contributions to Pennsylvania.png

Governor Printz Park

Read More →
Machinery, February 1919.png

Westinghouse Electrical Company

Read More →
Three Girls Drowned

Delaware River Boat Accidents

Strong currents and unseen objects beneath the river's surface pose threats to both recreational and commercial boaters, with potential lethal consequences. Boats have sunk quickly, leaving even strong swimmers at risk of drowning in the…

Read More →
Petroleum Leak Alert

2018 Pipeline Leak

Sunoco's 12-inch pipeline began leaking petroleum into Darby Creek near the Conrail bridge in mid-June, 2018. Booms were installed along the creek's northern shore to contain the spill. A third party investigation into the cause of the…

Read More →
Oil Spill Location

2004 Oil Spill

Read More →
USACE Dredge McFarland

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The Philadelphia district USACE has a Field Office at the Fort Mifflin Distribution Center, just east of Tinicum Township.

Read More →
New Tragedy at Essington

Delaware River Swimming Dangers

Many residents of Tinicum are wary of the Delaware River's strong tidal currents. Even when the river's surface appears calm, tidal forces can overpower even a strong swimmer. Those who enter the water usually plan the course of the swim…

Read More →
Whale reverses course; swims back up Delaware

River Wildlife

From thriving freshwater tidal marsh to inhospitable oil-slicked mud, the ecosystems of the Delaware have occupied varying states of productivity over the history of Tinicum Township. By the 1970s, virtually nothing could survive the Delaware's…

Read More →
Philadelphia Record April 29, 1890.png

Advertising Essington

In 1890, The Philadelphia Record ran a series of advertisements promoting weekend excursions to Essington. Described as "the new commercial town on the Delaware," Essington was beginning to open up for residential purposes as quarantine operations…

Read More →
An Act To Incorporate the Tinicum Fishing Company of Philadelphia

Tinicum Fishing Company

The waterfront just upstream of Darby Creek provided for productive fishing, in part because of the protection offered by Little Tinicum Island. In 1959, a group of men from the surrounding area formed a commercial fishing enterprise, which was…

Read More →
"The old man and the seaplanes"

Essington Seaplane Base

Under the sponsorship of a few wealthy Philadelphians, the Lazaretto property in Essington was converted to a seaplane base in 1915. After World War I, Frank Mills, one of the original pilots at Essington, acquires a lease of the property and opens a…

Read More →
Westinghouse Village Plans in The American Architect

Westinghouse Village

In 1918, when the Westinghouse Electric Corporation's new Essington plant came into operation, concern over employee welfare in industrial systems was coming into stride. The existing housing in Tinicum Township was hugely insufficient for the…

Read More →
As far back as Ancient Mesopotamia, developing cities have relied on rivers for drinking water, irrigation, and transportation to developing cities. Today, the role of rivers in society is less evident as water flows from faucets, food comes ready-to-eat, and subway lines or roads provide rapid transportation. This map of Tinicum Township explores the evolution of a town’s relationship to the river on which it was founded. In the mid-seventeenth century, the Delaware River brought Swedish settlers to what is today Tinicum Township. Since then, the functional role of the river, its physical characteristics, and the communities along its banks have evolved continuously in interaction with each other.

The Tinicum Township map is a collection of personal stories, photographs, newspaper articles, lawsuits, and other documents related to the intersection of river and township. The material dates from the nineteenth century to the summer of 2018, with a few glimpses into the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The history and culture of a particular area of the former island depends on its positioning between the Delaware, tributary creeks, and swampy land. This map is intended to reveal the legacy of flowing water--the travelers, industry, pollution, fear, and pleasure that have shaped community memory and ways of life. Today’s recreational, beautification, or commercial pursuits are rooted in a history of shifting relationships between water, land, and people. A brief overview of these relationships can be found here.