Riverton in Burlington County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Riverton Steamboat Landing
The face of Riverton, then and now
In 1851, travel on rough dirt roads and primitive, sooty railroads was unpleasant - but steamboats on the river were fast and smooth.
Riverton was laid out with the steamboat pier as the town's front door, the easiest way to travel to other river towns or to the City, where connections could be made for destinations near and far. Milk and produce were shipped out and goods were unloaded here.
Today, the pier is still our focal point, the subject of thousands of photos each year. Wedding party photos, engagement photos, babies on blankets or just cell photos of the best sunsets this side of Key West, the image of the Riverton Pier provides a happy, indelible memory for countless photo.
The summer of 1851 transformed this riverbank in a frenzy of workers, animals and materials. Though at the end of the winter it had been just farmland, by autumn the wealthy merchant Founders had completed ten "villas" with a substantial new iron pie. They were still advertising for contractors at the end of May
Steamboat service to downtown Philadelphia began soon thereafter, with a ten cent fare. A number of different boats called here over the years.
Freight and package delivery could include anything, from beer to milk to burlap sacks of feed to barrels of nails. Because the steamers kept to a schedule, foot passengers had to dodge freight rumbling over the bangplank during the brief stop at the pier.
The Columbia was a beloved member of the Riverton family for about 40 years. Right from her launch in the Centennial year 1876 in Wilmington, she was often the regular boat on this run and usually called at Riverton several times a day.
There was a "wharf man" at the pier to help with docklines and freight. When he would see the steamboat leave the Torresdale wharf he would ring the "sight bell" to let the businessmen at home know it was time to brush off the breakfast crumbs and hurry down to the wharf.
Columbia was big 220 feet long and her paddlewheels were turned slowly by a single cylinder engine with a piston over 4 feet in diameter.
This steamer then ran in sporadic excursion service to New Castle (under the name Franklin) during the 1920s and burned in a shipyard fire in Kensington in 1932.
Riverton Yacht Club
As a summer retreat, Riverton almost certainly saw recreational sailing from the start. By the Spring of 1865, with the Civil War at an end, Edward H. Ogden, of 503 Bank Ave., and some friends founded the Riverton Yacht Club. In 1880 they built the charming clubhouse, looking much as we see it today and including a waiting room for steamboat passengers.
In the century-and-a-half since, thousands of children and adults have learned to sail here. Today RYC's sail camps for all ages are going strong. Many who started sailing here now race competitively and cruise widely.
The club tallies champions in over 50 National, International and other significant races.
Erected 2017 by The Riverton Steamboat Landing Foundation, the Riverton Yacht Club, and the Historical Society of Riverton.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Parks & Recreational Areas • Settlements & Settlers • Sports • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1851.
Location. 40° 0.846′ N, 75° 1.107′ W. Marker is in Riverton, New Jersey, in Burlington County. Marker is at the intersection of Bank Avenue and Penn Street, on the right when traveling west on Bank Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 311 Bank Ave, Riverton NJ 08077, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Parrish-James House "Red Gables" (a few steps from this marker); Robert and Anna Miller Biddle (a few steps from this marker); Wharton-Fitler House (within shouting distance of this marker); Riverton Yacht Club (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Caleb Clothier House (about 500 feet away); F. Crosta Home & Store (approx. 0.2 miles away); Riverton's First Drugstore (approx. Ό mile away); Riverton Free Library (approx. Ό mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Riverton.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 4, 2022. It was originally submitted on April 4, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 54 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on April 4, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.