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Bordentown in Burlington County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Delaware: A National Treasure

Delaware River Heritage Trail

 
 
The Delaware: A National Treasure Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 14, 2020
1. The Delaware: A National Treasure Marker
Inscription.  
The 330-mile Delaware River is the longest free-flowing river east of the Mississippi River is the longest free-flowing river east of the Mississippi River. Its watershed drains an area of 14,119 square miles in four states. This nationally important corridor has been a major factor in the region's settlement and its subsequent economic and cultural history. It is also a critical natural resource. Nearly 20 million people rely on it for their drinking water, and it is a vital habitat for wildlife, including migrating birds. Millions of residents and visitors enjoy the river's remarkable scenic and recreational resources.

The Delaware's pristine waters supported a thriving commerce in fishing and transportation and supplied fresh water to the many towns and industries which developed along its banks. For more than four hundred years it was a resource people took for granted. By the 1960s, unchecked growth, habitat destruction and pollution were destroying the river. Public outcry led to enactment of sweeping environmental protection laws and remediation efforts, as well as greater vigilance and citizen activism. These actions
The Delaware: A National Treasure Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 14, 2020
2. The Delaware: A National Treasure Marker
resulted in cleaner waters and increased recreational use, however environmental threats continue and some native species remain in peril. In the 1990s, the section of the river above Trenton to the Delaware Water Gap, the 'Lower Delaware', was designated as a National Wild and Scenic River, a Federal designation reserved for less than one percent of the nation's waterways.

Indigenous peoples have lived beside the river for thousands of years. On early maps the river is shown simply as South River and the area remained a wilderness, known only to a few explorers, soldiers and traders. When England gained control of West Jersey in the 1660s, the river was named Delaware in honor of Baron De la Warr, a colonial baron. Immigrants from the British Isles, often fleeing religious persecution, began to arrive in great numbers. Bordentown was known in the 1680s as Farnsworth's Landing by an English farmer, is one of the Colony of West Jersey's important early river ports, along with Burlington and Trent's Town, now Trenton.

Due to its strategic location along early roads and at the confluence of the river and Crosswicks Creek, Bordentown became an important transportation and cultural center for two centuries. It was home to a number of famous residents including Francis Hopkinson, Thomas Paine, Joseph Bonaparte, Clara Barton and Commodore Charles Stewart, as well
Joseph Bonaparte banner on display in Bordentown image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 14, 2020
3. Joseph Bonaparte banner on display in Bordentown
Elder brother of Napoleon, and exiled King of Spain and Naples, Joseph Bonaparte settled in Bordentown in 1816 where he purchased land overlooking the Delaware River and Crosswick Creek. In 1820 his original mansion was destroyed by a fire and rebuilt in even grander fashion. His estate at Point Breeze was a destination for famed domestic and international dignitaries. It was home to the largest library and art collection in the newly founded United States. While spending more than 20 years in Bordentown, his home was said to be the most impressive house in the United STates after the White House.
as notable artists. Bordentown Beach is the site of the once bustling town wharves. The beach was created in the 1930s with dredge spoils from the river's navigation channel.

[Captions:]
Karl Bodmer's View on the Delaware, near Bordentown, 1832, engraving by Ch. Vogel. A coach and delivery wagon hurry to meet the steamboat at Bordentown landing. Bodmer painted this scene near the Bonaparte estate. Credit: The Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Collection

Atlantic Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhynchus)
The Delaware River once supported the largest spawning population of Atlantic Sturgeon in North America. They are now listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. Atlantic sturgeon can reach lengths in excess of 10 feet and weigh several hundred pounds. The eggs, or roe, are a famous delicacy known as Atlantic caviar. Credit: Original illustration by Ellen Edmonson and Hugh Chrisp for 1927-1940 New York Biological Survey. Image courtesy of Cornell University and NYS DEC.

 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial EraNative AmericansSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels.
 
Location. 40° 8.851′ N, 74° 43.061′ W. Marker is in
Thomas Paine banner on display in Bordentown image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 14, 2020
4. Thomas Paine banner on display in Bordentown
Paine lived in Bordentown between 1778 and 1787 and helped to turn Bordentown into a hot-bed of radicalism. General George Washington turned to Paine in his greatest hour of need in December 1776. The famously quotable Paine's line "These are the times that try men's souls…" in the The American Crisis helped to motivate the destitute Continental Army at the turning point of the war, as Washington would go on to cross the Delaware to defeat Hessian and British soldiers at the Battles of Trenton and Princeton.
Bordentown, New Jersey, in Burlington County. Marker is on West Park Street 0.2 miles west of Prince Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bordentown NJ 08505, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Point Breeze (within shouting distance of this marker); 19th Century Railroading in Bordentown (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); An Early Transportation Hub (about 700 feet away); Thomas Paine Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); British Raid on Crosswicks Creek (approx. 0.2 miles away); Wright House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Patience Lovell Wright (approx. 0.2 miles away); Home of Patience Lovell Wright (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bordentown.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 15, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 15, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 46 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 15, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   3, 4. submitted on November 16, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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Mar. 5, 2021