Delaware: Trading with the world
The Delaware estuary is the second largest freshwater port in the United States. It hosts the country's second largest concentration of petrochemical facilities. Shipping of petrochemicals and other products has revitalized ports along the estuary. Today many different countries ship goods to the United States via the Delaware River.
What's that ship?
Commercial boats and ships from all over the world can be seen from where you are standing. Some are small tugboats that stay in the Bay. Others are giant oil tankers that have come from the Middle East. Each vessel has been designed for a special purpose or type of cargo. By recognizing the silhouette of a ship you may have a clue to the job it is doing, what it is carrying, or where it is going.
The flags you see do not always tell you where a ship is from. A ship flag tells you where it is registered.
Clues to a Seafaring Past
Since Colonial times, the estuary's treacherous shoals, strong tides, and swift currents have been serious hazards for maritime traffic. Hundreds of boats have been lost, dozens of which
The murky bottom of the Delaware estuary is a graveyard for dozens of shipwrecks. Over the last thirty year sophisticated new technology has allowed underwater exploration of these wrecks. By analyzing sunken vessels, historians and archaeologists can obtain important clues about our maritime heritage.
This British warship was grounded in shallow water and then attacked by Americans on October 23, 1777, during the Revolutionary War battle for control of the Delaware River.
On February 19, 1968, this naval tug was towing a destroyer to the scrapyard in Baltimore. At about 9 p.m. just off Finns Point, the tow line broke. The destroyer's momentum carried it over the tug, sinking it, with the loss of two lives.
Although tragic when they happened these shipwrecks now provide helpful clues to our navigation history. Other reminders of our past are century-old forts, preserved as public parks and historic sites, which were built for the defense of a young nation during the age of the great navies.
Just after midnight on June 6, 1953, the empty tanker Phoenix was struck by the tanker
Guardians of the river
Although forts built along the Delaware estuary had little strategic value after the advent of the airplane, they had enormous military significance between the 1600's and World War I. Several of these fortifications still stand and afford spectacular views of the estuary, offer interesting public activities, and provide wildlife habitat.
Built by the British in 1772, this one of the bay's most historic forts. It is now owned by the City of Philadelphia and open to the public for tours and demonstrations.
With history spanning from the Civil War to World War II, this fort serves as an important historic and natural resource site.
Constructed from 1842 to 1860 on Pea Patch Island, this fort is accessible to visitors by ferry and has exhibits and interpretive tours.
Guiding lights of the Delaware River
Harbor Refuge Light
Built in 1901, this light stands on the outer breakwater at Cape Henlopen. The rocks of the 1 1/2 mile-long breaker were quarried on the Brandywine River near Fox Point, and transported to the site by ship.
Located in the bay itself, this lighthouse operates today and was the last Delaware Bay light to be automated in 1974.
East Point Lighthouse
This red-roofed lighthouse, built in 1849, has been operated as an official aid to navigation since 1980 when the Coast Guard placed an automated beacon in its lantern.
Ship John Shoal Light
Named for the ship "John" that sank near the lighthouse in 1797, this light continues today, to be an important navigational aid.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Communications • Forts and Castles • Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Delaware State Parks 🏞️ series list. A significant historical date for this entry is February 19, 1968.
Location. 39° 45.489′ N, 75° 29.27′ W. Marker is near Edgemoor, Delaware, in New Castle County. Marker is on Lighthouse
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Welcome to Fox Point State Park (within shouting distance of this marker); Memories of Fox Point (within shouting distance of this marker); Timeline of the Delaware River (approx. ¼ mile away); Blue Rock Community Club (approx. 0.9 miles away); The Cauffiel House and Estate (approx. 1.3 miles away); Mount Pleasant School (approx. 1.3 miles away); A Pathway through the Past (approx. 1.3 miles away); Mount Pleasant Methodist Episcopal (ME) Church and Parsonage (approx. 1.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Edgemoor.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 1, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 1, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 29 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 1, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.