Tinicum Township Map


Tinicum Township Map


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


Rose Nagele


PPEH Summer Research Group


Collection Items

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…

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…

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…

Tinicum Township Atlases
Atlases of Delaware County dating back to 1848 show geographical and occupational changes in Tinicum Township over time. The township initially comprised of a series of islands, including Tinicum Island, Hog Island, and Little Tinicum Island. A…

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…

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…

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 around the…

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 incident is…
View all 30 items

Social Bookmarking