“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Port Penn in New Castle County, Delaware — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Floating Cabins and Skinning Shacks

Symbols of the Marsh

Floating Cabins and Skinning Shacks Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Pfingsten, August 17, 2008
1. Floating Cabins and Skinning Shacks Marker
Inscription.  Left Panel The European Markets
Port Penn once figured prominently in world markets. As the supply of beaver fur in the American West declined, European demand for quality fur remained high. Toward the end of the 19th century, muskrat pelts became an important material for fur coats, hats and winter clothing. Even after their fur went out of fashion in the 20th century, however, muskrat trapping in Port Penn continued providing food for local families.
Sturgeon roe (eggs) from the Delaware River was sold in Russia as high-quality caviar. Much of the caviar imported to the United States was often from the Delaware River, only repackaged in Russia and then re-sold to Americans at much higher prices. The roe from a single sturgeon could pay a Port Penn fisherman's household bills for most of the year.
Center Panel The floating cabin and muskrat skinning shack you see here are rare examples of buildings once common along the Delaware River. Their practical designs reflect their specific uses on the river and marsh. Fishermen relied on floating cabins, as they could be towed or poled from place to place and usually
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contained a small living area and storage container for fish. Muskrat shacks could also be used as dwellings during the season, allowing trappers to make the most of their time on the marsh.
Erected by The Village of Port Penn.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceNotable BuildingsWaterways & Vessels.
Location. 39° 31.131′ N, 75° 34.693′ W. Marker is in Port Penn, Delaware, in New Castle County. Marker can be reached from Liberty Street, on the right when traveling north. Marker is on the Nature Path leading to the marsh. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Port Penn DE 19731, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Wetland Ways (within shouting distance of this marker); Village of Port Penn (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Webb-Jefferson House (about 600 feet away); Canary-Naudine House & Store (about 600 feet away); Samuel Carpenter House (about 600 feet away); Port Penn Schoolhouse (about 600 feet away); Thomas Cleaver House (about 600 feet away); Market Square (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Port Penn.
More about this marker. Upper Left Insert Advertisement for muskrat fur
Floating Cabin image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Pfingsten, August 17, 2008
2. Floating Cabin
cap. Entry from the 1902 Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog.
Small Center Photo Examples of floating fishing cabins in the vicinity of Port Penn.
Skinning Shack image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Pfingsten, August 17, 2008
3. Skinning Shack
Credits. This page was last revised on June 6, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 18, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,909 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 18, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.

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Jul. 20, 2024