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The Delaware River Waterfront and Philadelphia Maritime Museums

The Delaware River Valley is the metropolitan area centered on the city of Philadelphia, the region’s major commercial, cultural, and industrial center. The region’s excellent road and rail network make it the perfect location for a vacation or business trip to the Middle Atlantic States. Philadelphia International is a major airline hub with daily connections to North American destinations and from major European cities.

Phila ViewThe River and the Environment

The Delaware River is comprised of 36 tributaries and flows 330 miles from New York to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware to the Atlantic Ocean. It extends from the Catskill and Pocono mountain springs and streams flowing down to the Delaware Water Gap where steep slopes give way to gently rolling hills and sweeping valleys. Then, it stretches 134 miles from the Trenton falls to the mouth of the Delaware Bay.   

Blackbeard and the Golden Age of PiracyDelaware County and River Towns Marcus Hook’s historical significance comes from its identity as a maritime town. Originally a Lenape settlement, it became a New Sweden trading post in the 1640s with shipbuilding and fishing as early industries. The Hook was also a haven for pirates in the early 18th century and its market provided a place to sell plundered goods and re-supply for their next voyage.

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Maritime Museums in Historic Towns

The Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild maintains and sails historic ships to bring the past to the present. A non-profit organization that teaches and practices seamanship, traditional restoration, maritime culture, and sailing skills in a fun and team focused setting.

crtsy-drwc-spruce-street-harbor-park-aerial-popped-550VPThe Independence Seaport Museum features the Schooner Diligence, designed and built by Joshua and Samuel Humphreys in Philadelphia in 1797 for the Revenue-Marine and later transferred to the Navy. Schooners like Diligence played a vital role in the development of the early Navy in defending American merchant ships from attacks by Britain, France and the Barbary pirates.

The original Diligence served in the West Indies Squadron under John Barry, who commanded the Frigate United States during the Quasi War with France in 1798-1800.

The Cruiser Olympia was launched in 1892 and is the oldest steel warship afloat in the world. It has some the first modern luxuries aboard warships, including refrigeration, a fresh water distiller, steam radiators for heat, electric lighting, and a blower-operated ventilation system. Olympia required a new breed of sailor specifically trained in steam-driven and electrically-powered technology.

Washington PierPier 68 is a place to relax and enjoy the Philadelphia waterfront where you can learn about the tidal ecology of the Delaware River, its watershed, or engage in recreational fishing. Design elements include:

An Entrance Deck with whimsical painted poles and repurposed maritime bollards to create a distinctive gateway for the pier. Located just off the future trail extension, this space serves as a resting spot for those using the trail and as a place where shopping center visitors can quickly experience the Pier Park.

ferry-and-bridgeCruise the Delaware River north or south from Philadelphia and make your way to Chesapeake Bay by way of the C&D Canal or take the Ferry to Camden to visit local attractions like the battleship New Jersey.

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Madisonville Louisiana and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum

Madisonville is located at on the banks of the Tchefunke River near where the river enters Lake Pontchartrain. Founded by in 1800, as the town of Coquille or Cokie because of the abundance of shells in the area, at the site of the Native American village of Chiconcte. The town was later renamed after President Madison.

Madisonville Monument Sign TchefuncteFrederick (Fritz) Jahncke emigrated from Germany in 1870. After working as a mason, he started a business that built the first sidewalks in New Orleans. Using a rented steam-driven hydraulic suction dredge, his firm was the first to extract sand and shell from the Tchefuncte and other rivers to make concrete used in expanding New Orleans.

Shipbuilding the company started building five wooden ships for the US Navy. Two ships were completed – the SS Bayou Teche and the SS Balabac – before the end of WWI.

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway links Madisonville with New Orleans

The Story of Mobility in America

Maritime Museums in Historic Towns

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Lake Ponchartrain Basin Maritime MuseumLake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum is located on the banks of the scenic Tchefuncte River in Madisonville. The museum brings Louisiana’s maritime history to life through unique interpretive programs, exhibits, and publications. These programs include the time-honored craft of boat building, hands-on field trips, constructing underwater robots, restoration of the Tchefuncte River Lighthouse, and other exciting educational opportunities for people of all ages.

A Historic Journey through Maritime Louisiana

Wooden Boat FestivalThe Wooden Boat Festival, the premier annual event on the Tchefuncte River, features over 100 wooden and classic boats. From canoes to pirogues, from bateaux to steamboats, Louisiana’s unique maritime history and culture has it all. Native Americans, European explorers, and early settlers depended upon Louisiana’s extensive bayous, rivers, and lakes as the pathways of survival, linking the interior with the sea.

The Museum features unique exhibits that illustrate the innovation, creativity, and perseverance of Louisiana’s people, concentrating on the maritime history of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin, the lower Mississippi River Valley, and the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. Lifelike examples of native Louisiana plants and animals can be seen in the museum’s exhibits. Other exhibits:

LPBMM field-tripSecret Weapon! Civil War Submarine, the Pioneer

Canals of New Orleans

Lighthouses of Louisiana

Wood and Water, a Celebration of Louisiana Boatbuilding

The Steamboat Era

Waterways to Railways II

Tchefuncte River LighthouseThe Tchefuncte River Light Station is a symbol of the dynamic maritime history and culture of Louisiana. The original tower was badly damaged during the Civil War and was rebuilt in 1867-1868 on the same foundation using many of the same bricks. The Light Station, its keepers, and their families weathered many hurricanes until 1939 when it was automated by the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1999 the property was transferred to the Town of Madisonville and continues to serve the community as a private aid to navigation and as an icon of Southeast Louisiana.

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America · Cultural Heritage · Historic Towns · intercity transit · Maritime Heritage · museums · Travel · travel plan

Travel to Mobile Alabama

Architecture Carnivals Fire Houses Ships Shipbuilding and Southern Hospitality

Mobile Alabama is located at the head of Mobile Bay and the Central Gulf Coast. Mobile was founded by the French in 1702. During its first 100 years, Mobile was a colony of France, Britain and Spain; it became a part of the United States of America in 1813.

Mobile River at Chickasaw CreekMobile Bay is the fourth largest estuary in the US. The Mobile, Tensaw and several smaller rivers empty into the northern end of the bay. Fish and crustaceans swarm the shallow coastline and shore of the bay. Mobile Bay is the only place on earth where the so-called jubilees are a common occurrence.

The Port of Mobile’s deep-water terminals have direct access to 1500 miles of inland and intra-coastal waterways and access to the Great Lakes, the Ohio and Tennessee rivers. During WWII, the defense buildup resulted in a considerable increase in the city’s white middle-class and working-class population, largely due to the massive influx of workers coming to work in the shipyards were Liberty ships and tankers were built, along with destroyers and minesweepers.

Gulf Mobile & Ohio Railroad stationCulture Mobile is home to an array of cultural influences with its mixed French, Spanish, Creole and Catholic heritage, in addition to British and African. The city is home to several art museums, a symphony orchestra, a professional opera, a professional ballet company and the oldest organized carnival.

Carnival celebrations in the country, originating with the French Catholic colonial settlers. Carnival in Mobile evolved over the course of 300 years from a beginning as a sedate French Catholic tradition into the mainstream multi-week celebration that today bridges a spectrum of cultures. Mobile’s official cultural ambassadors are the Azalea Trail Maids who embody the ideals of Southern Hospitality.

Mobile Museum of ArtThe Mobile Museum of Art features permanent exhibits that span several centuries of art and culture. The permanent exhibits include the African and Asian Collection Gallery, Altmayer Gallery of American art, Katharine C. Cochrane Gallery of American Fine Art, Maisel European Gallery, Riddick Glass Gallery, Smith Crafts Gallery, and the Ann B. Hearin Contemporary Art Gallery.

Battleship Memorial Park is a military park on the shore of Mobile Bay and features the World War II era USS Alabama and the submarine USS Drum as well as Korean and Vietnam War memorials.

Architecture as the city’s principal commercial corridor, Dauphin Street acquired such a reputation for quality. A fire in 1839 destroyed the older wooden buildings on the street and the two- and three-story brick commercial buildings that we see today began to be built. Many of the early structures had the straight lintels and dentil moldings of the Federal style. Reconstruction brought new building trends such as the Italianate style and cast-iron facades. The end of the 19th Century brought the Victorian era and Revivalism which continued into the 20th Century. Dauphin Street area has experienced a recent revival because of the historic preservation movement.

Fire Houses in the nineteenth century the fire alarm was sounded by beating on a metal wagon wheel ring with a hammer. Volunteers were always in a hurry to get to the fire because the company that responded first got paid. By law, every citizen was required to have a fire bucket, and three were required in cotton warehouses, taverns and hotels.

Creole fire HouseCreole Fire House #1, 1872 designed by James H. Hutchisson, this two-story brick structure with arched central bay and full height second floor windows. It was the first volunteer fire company in Mobile, founded in 1819 by members of Mobile’s Creole community. The fire company was absorbed into the city department in 1888 and finally disbanded in 1970. The Creoles were people of mixed heritage who formed their own schools, churches and social organizations. It is said that the Creole #1 was usually the first to get to the fire because they bought rejected race horses, including Jack, the horse who could follow his nose straight to the fire. Horse drawn equipment was used until 1924. The company remained in the Dearborn Street house until the Central Fire Station was built in 1926.

South Water Street circa 1860 the front of the Elgin Building is one-of-a-kind in Mobile. It is a cast iron facade ordered from the catalogue of the Badger Iron Works Co. in New York and installed on a brick building. The façade is based on the waterfront palazzos of 15th and 16th century Venice. The façade was designed by T.H. Giles.

Dauphin StreetSouth Royal Street 1891 designed in 1891 by Rudolph Benz, this commercial brick building is in the Queen Ann Style. The east and south corners have turrets with pyramidal roofs. The building also has a variety of decorative motifs and cast-iron balconies.

102 Dauphin Street circa 1875 currently a two-story building with rounded windows with cast iron hoods on the second floor; this building was originally three stories. The decorative sills for the third-floor windows are still visible at the cornice line.


Ketchum Fountain in Bienville SquareBienville Square circa 1850 was named for Mobile’s founder, Jean Baptist le Moyne Sieur de Bienville, a French naval officer who became the governor of French Louisiana. Bienville Square began its transition into a public Square in 1824 when the U.S. Congress passed an act transferring a large plot of land to the City of Mobile. This plot was the site of the Old Spanish Hospital on the southwest corner of the block. The Act specifically specified that the property be forever used as a city park. The Square became a popular place to promenade, and by the spring of 1890 installation of an Acanthus Fountain in the center was underway. The fountain was placed in honor of Dr. George A. Ketchum, a prominent physician, civic leader and president of the Bienville Water Works. In 1905, Teddy Roosevelt spoke in the Square about the importance of the Panama Canal to the port of Mobile.

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