Philadelphia's River Region
A concentration of articles around the rivers and wetland in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Delaware (State of)
Originally the "lower counties" of Pennsylvania, and thus one of three Quaker colonies founded by William Penn, Delaware has developed its own set of traditions and history.
City of Rivers and Rivulets
Philadelphia has always been defined by the waters that surround it.
Customs, Culture and Traditions
Abundant seafood made it easy to settle here. Agriculture takes longer.
Right Angle Club 2007
A report, to the year 2007 shareholders of the Right Angle Club of Philadelphia, by the outgoing president.
Land Tour Around Delaware Bay
Start in Philadelphia, take two days to tour around Delaware Bay. Down the New Jersey side to Cape May, ferry over to Lewes, tour up to Dover and New Castle, visit Winterthur, Longwood Gardens, Brandywine Battlefield and art museum, then back to Philadelphia. Try it!
When you take the ferry across the mouth of Delaware Bay from Lewes to Cape May, you are out of sight of land for half an hour. But the Army Corps of Engineers have thoroughly dredged it out. By contrast, when Henry Hudson first discovered the river while searching for a Northwest passage to the Indies, it was so full of snags and shoals that he just gave up and sailed on to what is now New York harbor. So, for centuries the river pilots were an essential part of ocean commerce to Philadelphia. As you might well imagine, the earliest pilots were members of local Indian tribes. Eventually, a proud colony of professional pilots grew up at Lewes, Delaware. Since radio communication is a comparatively recent development in this ancient trade, they had to devise ways for an incoming ship to select a pilot, and establish rules to be enforced by the Port Wardens about how to go about it.
In the mid-Eighteenth Century, the system was to hang a black ball from the Cape Henlopen lighthouse whenever a ship was sighted. Little companies of ten or fifteen pilots would then jump into very fast schooners designed for the purpose, and race to be first out to the ladder hanging from the incoming ship's side. The rule was, the first to arrive and present his certificate got the job. Tony Junker, an actively practicing Philadelphia architect has immersed himself in tales and adventures among the pilots, and Tunnell's Boys is an exciting new novel about this dangerous, wet and uncomfortable, profession.
Originally published: Saturday, April 21, 2007; most-recently modified: Thursday, June 06, 2019