Delanco History Board Resources Page
400 Years of History on the Rancocas Creek
Babe Ruth Day Program 2022
Babe Ruth Day Video 2017 - Barbara Towell Production
Crossings at Delanco Station
Crossing New Jersey by Arthur Mierisch GSL Mag39
Day the Balloon Landed (1968)
Delanco Community Quilt
Delanco Federal Savings Bank - 125 Years (2015)
Delanco Historic Waterfront Walking Tour
Delanco Public Schools in 1943-Illustrated
Delanco Story: Its Past and Present (1976)
Delanco's Historic Riverfronts
History of Hawk Island - Laurie Van Genderen (1994)
History of the Jersey Yahoos
History of the Zurbrugg Mansion
Key Figures in Delanco History
Landon-Stone Bridge 85th Anniversary Booklet V2 - 09-14-2020
Martha Fletcher's Journal 1-1-1864 to 7-4-1867
Mr. Diggs of Delanco
Newton's Landing Historical Exhibit
Old Town Walking Tour
Pioneer Camden & Amboy Railroad - Mike's Railroad History - Michael Islam
Ridgeway & Son Shoe Factory (1881 - 1928)
Seizure of Delanco's Alligator Submarine (1861)
Zurbrugg Mansion Centennial Celebration (2011)
Riverside-Delanco Bridge Over the Rancocas Creek - 85th Anniversary Celebration
Delanco Military Veterans Honor Roll
Click here to view the Honor Roll, a project of the Delanco History Board. From this link you can not only view the Honor Roll, but also learn more about the project and nominate a Veteran.
Delanco History—A Timeline
The Delanco History Board is pleased to present this timeline of Delanco history. The events and dates reported are accurate to the best of our knowledge, but we welcome any corrections or additions that you might suggest. We believe that the best local history is an interactive experience among all those interested in the subject, and we encourage you to share your knowledge with us by writing to us at 770 Coopertown Road, Delanco, NJ 08075-4498.
1598: The Dutch claimed to be the first to visit the Delaware River in this year.
1614: Dutch traders from Ft. Auranie (Albany) sailed down the Delaware River.
1633: Devries reports traveling up the unnamed (Rancocas) creek in this year.
1634: Captain Young reports traveling up the unnamed (Rancocas) creek in this year.
1655: The Swedes name the creek, Rancoqueskill in this year.
1677: Richard Fenimore arrived from England aboard the Kent and established a farm in the Beverly-Delanco area below the original Jacob Perkins farm. This acreage would later become a major portion of modern Delanco Township.
1681: The survey done in this year was the first to mention the Ancocas-Rancocas Creek by name. The English tried to change the name to Northampton River, but the Indian name for the waterway (originally Ancocas) was preferred.
1681: Court was established in West Jersey.
November 6, 1688: Burlington County, one of the four counties in West Jersey, was organized into nine townships, one of which was Wellingborrow (also spelled Wellingborough and later, Willingboro). It was established on the north shore of the Rancocas River to the Delaware River by a group of English Quakers. The Township included all settlements south of Burlington, including the present day towns of Willingboro and the riverfront communities of Edgewater Park, Beverly, and Delanco. Wellingborough was named for the town, which the Quaker congregants left in England.
1694: Burlington County was formed of the union of the first and second Tenths. It consisted of Burlington, Chester, Chesterfield, Evesham, Mansfield, Northampton, Nottingham, Springfield, and Willingboro townships.
1702: Ferry Service on the Rancocas Creek at Bridgeboro. The minutes of Province of NJ mentions the ferry service.
1747: Ferry service was established across the Rancocas Creek at Bridgeboro. The service operated until the first pier bridge was built at that location in 1873.
1748: The Colonial Assembly authorized the laying out of a Great Road from Burlington to Cooper’s Ferries. Bridges were a rarity, and in the 1750s travelers on this route encountered four ferries between Burlington and Philadelphia: on the Rancocas River, Pennsauken Creek, Cooper River, and Delaware River. A century later the route was improved and designated as a toll road. The highway was later designated NJ Route 2, then NJ 25, then US Highway 130.
1748: John Buzby established a ferry on the Great Road over the Rancocas River. It was supported by tolls and operated by the Buzby family until 1793 when the first bridge across the Rancocas opened at the same location. It was regarded as the Lower Ferry to distinguish it from the Adam's Wharf Ferry farther upstream.
1756: 350 acres of Richard Fenimore’s farm were devised by will to his descendant, Joseph Fenimore. The Fenimore farm would later become a major portion of modern Delanco Township.
1767: Samuel and Mary Folwel Newton acquired 430 acres of farmland along the north bank of the Rancocas Creek. It included much of what would later become Delanco Township.
1787: Connecticut-born inventor, John Fitch created a practical steam-powered paddleboat. After several modifications, Fitch established regular packet boat service in 1787 between Philadelphia and Trenton. Fitch’s service lasted only a single season and did not recoup enough revenue to be considered profitable, but it was a clear precursor of an age of steam that would reign for the next century on the Delaware River. It attracted the interest of Benjamin Franklin who served as President of the American Steamboat Company in 1789. By comparison, Robert Fulton did not establish service on the Hudson River until 1807; however Fulton’s service between New York City and Albany began turning a profit from the outset.
1793: The first bridge was built on the Great Road over the Rancocas River, replacing Buzby’s ferry, which had been in operation since 1748. It was a timber span with covered sections built on each end and an open span in the center. It was built by Burlington County government and maintained by tolls. The community that was first established at Buzby’s ferry came to be known as Bridgeboro, in Chester Township, now known as Delran Township. The bridge remained in operation until 1838 when it was replaced by an open bridge structure.
1795-1801: William Cooper, the husband of Elizabeth Fenimore and father of John Fenimore Cooper, is elected to the Fourth and Sixth US Congress representing Otsego County in upstate New York. Congress, at that time, was seated in Philadelphia. In 1795 William Cooper returned to Burlington County and built a grand riverbank home as befitting a congressman. During the home’s construction the family likely rented a home in Burlington City. William commuted to Philadelphia by boat in fair weather. He served two terms of office separated by one term out of office. His son, future author James Fenimore Cooper, spent much of his young life from age 6 to age12 living here. Tradition places the Cooper estate on the Delaware riverbank in what is now Delanco, just west of present day Union Avenue. The estate was sold about 1801 and the family returned to Cooperstown, New York. Elizabeth Cooper continued to spend winters in a rented property in Burlington City.
Feb 21, 1798: Wellingborough incorporated as Willingborough Township.
1812: Colonel John Stevens urges construction of a New York City – Philadelphia railroad.
1812: During the War of 1812, Philadelphia industrialist Stephen Girard repositioned many of his vessels from Philadelphia to more secure anchorage on the Rancocas Creek, just above where the railroad bridge is today. The ships managed to avoid detection by British naval forces.
1815: Colonel Stevens obtains a charter to connect New York City and Philadelphia.
1817: Colonel Stevens obtains a charter to connect the Raritan and Delaware Rivers via canal.
1823: The Philadelphia, Rancocas & Mt. Holly Steamboat Company was formed and began regular service on the Rancocas Creek. The Norristownwas reported to be the first steamboat to provide service.
1825: The steamboat Lafayette began service for the Philadelphia, Rancocas & Mt. Holly Steamboat Company on the Rancocas Creek.
1828: The Heaton family purchased farmland on the Delaware River south of Beverly from the Fenimores.
1828: A new toll drawbridge is built to carry the Great Road over the Rancocas Creek. It replaces the 1793 toll bridge.
1830: Colonel Stevens Obtains a Charter from the New Jersey Legislature to construct the Camden & Amboy Railroad. The same day he obtained a charter to construct the Delaware & Raritan Canal.
February 1831: Right of way for the newly chartered Camden & Amboy Railroad is surveyed. The northern section follows the route of the Bordentown-Amboy Turnpike (now US Hwy 130).
June 1831: The locomotive John Bull arrives in America. It was constructed in England, then disassembled and shipped to Stevens shop in Bordentown in pieces. Stevens Chief Mechanic, Isaac Dripps assembles the locomotive in 11 days without benefit of instructions, and without having ever seen a steam locomotive, however Dripps had previous experience with steam engines in steamboat applications.
August 1831: The northern section of the Camden and Amboy Railroad, the first line to be laid in the State of New Jersey, was begun between Bordentown and South Amboy. It was later extended from Bordentown to Camden, through the farmland that was to become modern Delanco, a total distance of sixty-two miles. All records of early railroad construction agree that this ancient stretch of track was the first in New Jersey, and one of the first to be laid anywhere in the United States.
1831: The Camden & Amboy Railway changed the design of its coaches to 4-wheel bogeys. The earlier “European design” was found to be ill-suited for the wilder American terrain.
1832: John Stevens and the Camden-Amboy Railroad completed a wooden trestle and iron railroad bridge over the Rancocas River between Delanco and Riverside. The center span was built as a lift section to permit steamboats and sailing vessels to travel up the Rancocas River. This completed its route from Bordentown to Camden, connecting the Delaware River towns with Camden and ferry service to Philadelphia in the south to Bordentown, and eventually, Perth Amboy and ferry service to New York City in the north. Stevens had to import the iron rails from England. He designed the classic inverted “T” design during his crossing to England. He returned to Bordentown with the necessary rails loaded aboard 23 sailing ships.
November 28, 1832: The first Camden-Amboy Railway train made its first trip through the area from Bordentown to Camden. John Stevens purchased a wood-burning steam locomotive from George & Robert Stephenson Co. in Newcastle-on-Tyne by in England. It was disassembled and shipped to Bordentown aboard a sailing ship, then reassembled by Stevens’ young mechanic, Isaac Dripps in a matter of days, without benefit of plans. The locomotive was designated No.1 and named Stevens, but gained the nickname “John Bull” for its years of reliable service. It remained in regular operation until 1864. Availability of comfortable and reliable passenger service signaled the beginning of a 20-year period of growth and development of river towns Florence, Delanco, Riverside, Riverton, and Palmyra. In all but the coldest weather, passengers traveling south departed the train at Burlington and transferred to steamboat for the remainder of the journey. When the Delaware froze, passengers ran through to Camden where they completed the journey to Philadelphia by ferryboat. Year-round service began in the 1840s
January 1834: The Camden & Amboy Railway completes trackage from South Amboy to Camden, a distance of 61 miles. The fare is $3.00 via steam-drawn coach. Passenger service from Camden to South Amboy begins.
1834: The first delivery of US Mail was carried by train from Philadelphia to New York City.
1834: The Camden & Amboy Railway completes its expansion route from the Y at Bordentown to Trenton.
1836: The Camden & Amboy Railway changed the design of its passenger coaches from the initial triple “stagecoach” design to the more familiar long coaches with bench seating.
1838: A new pier bridge was built across the Rancocas at Bridgeboro on the route of the Great Road, replacing the 1793 covered bridge. The 1838 bridge served for almost fifty years, and was replaced by a concrete and steel drawbridge in 1927.
1843: A US Coastal Survey identifies the area of the Delaware River off of the Hawk Island Cut as White Sheet Bay.
1845: Richard F. Wilmerton obtained a charter for a village to be called Delaranco, which he planned to develop on his farmland. He created this name from an abridgement of Delaware River and Rancocas Creek. At that time, there were but a few scattered farmhouses and fishing shanties in the area. The new railway probably only stopped to take on water and wood and the occasional passenger. The Union Avenue wharf was yet to be built. It is unclear when the Poplar Avenue wharf on the Rancocas went into service.
March 9, 1848: The Delanco Land Company officially incorporated for the purpose of developing residential housing on the riverfront of the village. There is still question as to where the name originated. Possibly it was a deliberate marketing creation by the corporation as a logical (and catchy) name for their new development. By 1857 the name was apparently applied to the entire village, replacing other suggested names (such as Delaranco and Del-Ranco).
December 18, 1848: Abraham Perkins of Beverly deeded the Heaton Farm tract on the western tip of Willingboro Township to the Delanco Land Company. The tract was located on the Delaware River north of present day Burlington Avenue. The tract was laid out for residential housing. Members of the Land Company included several men from Philadelphia and the brothers Caleb and James Clothier whose large homes were built on Delaware Avenue just east and west of Walnut Street. Up to this time, the area was considered part of the town of Beverly. Streets and building lots were laid out, but little progress was made until 1852.
1848: According to Barbara Frank Page, this is the date when Thomas Fletcher purchased 30 acres from Richard Wilmerton to establish a vineyard and winery.
1849: The first Camden-Amboy railway station in the area was constructed on the bank of the Rancocas Creek at the head of Union Avenue. It consisted of a platform extending out onto the trestle, passenger and freight terminals, a watering tank, and coaling station. A bridgetender’s house was located just south of the station. The station was designated Rancocas Crossing or Rancocas Bridge until 1859 when the name was changed to Delanco.
1849: Richard F. Wilmerton’s new residential development of Delaranco was first recognized as a town, developing north from the Rancocas Creek. The town’s other major developer was the Delanco Land Company which was attempting to develop south from the Delaware River. This latter development did not really gain ground until about 1852. The town was later unified under the name Delanco.
March 5, 1850: Beverly Borough formed within Willingboro Township.
1850: A wharf was constructed at the foot of Union Avenue in Delanco to serve as a landing for steam-powered packet ships. It could handle both passengers and cargo. During this era, Union Avenue served as the main street in Delanco because it ran from the steamboat wharf on the Delaware River south to the train depot near the Rancocas Creek. The wharf was built by Jacob Kreiner & Sons of Delanco. It served the community until about 1950 and was demolished in 1969.
1851: Just across the Rancocas Creek the village of Goattown in Chester Township changed its name to Progress. It later changed its name to Riverside.
1852: Richard F. Wilmerton, who secured a charter for his proposed town if Delaranco in 1849, published a map of Delaranco Lots in 1852. These lands were bounded roughly by the Rancocas Creek, Burlington Avenue, and Walnut Alley. A large portion of Wilmerton’s property west of Burlington Avenue to the “cut”, and south of Vine Street had been sold to Thomas Fletcher in 1848 for a vineyard and winery. That conveyance was considered the first done by deed in the State of New Jersey.
1852: Richard F. Wilmerton established a steam-powered sawmill and lumber yard on the Rancocas riverbank at the foot of Poplar Street. The business passed out of service by 1883.
1852: Henry Kreiner constructed a hotel and tavern on Rancocas Avenue, just across Railroad Avenue from the Camden & Amboy Railroad Station.The hotel and tavern operated for more than 65 years, ceasing operation in 1917, when the local option law went into effect and Delanco no longer allowed bars or any “thirst quenching” stations. The building was demolished in 1937.
April 1853: The bridge tender at the Rancocas Creek opened the swing span bridge for an approaching Philadelphia-bound steamboat, forgetting about the scheduled uptrain from Camden. The result of this error was the locomotive (of the Monster design) and two or three baggage cars in the bottom of the creek. No passengers sustained injuries or even got wet. It was a harrowing event, never-the-less.
1853: Father John Neumann is reported to have traveled up the Rancocas Creek by boat, landed on the farm later owned by George Russ, and ridden through Delanco on his way to a meeting establishing St. Peter’s Parish in Riverside. Father John Neumann was beatified in 1963 and canonized by the Catholic Church as St. John Neumann in 1977. Later, George Russ constructed a family chapel near his farmhouse on the bank of the Rancocas commemorating the life of St. John Neumann.
1853: Idea for a Delanco-Riverside bridge was first proposed by local farmers to help them get their produce to market more efficiently.
1854: Nathan S. Crane established a shipyard along the Rancocas near the foot of Buttonwood Street.
February 1855: The remaining assets of the Delanco Land Company were sold at Sheriff’s Sale.
1856: A one-room schoolhouse measuring 24 feet x 24 feet was built on Buttonwood Street in Delanco. It was the first school to open in Delanco. It was expanded to two classrooms in 1862.
1856: Farnum School was established on Warren Street in Beverly by Paul Farnum, Esq. with an endowment of $70,000. Many children of Delanco attended Farnum School over the years.
March 1, 1857: Beverly Borough was officially incorporated as a city within Wellingborough Township.
April 13, 1857: Beverly Borough became Beverly City by referendum.
October 5, 1857: A United States Post Office was established in Delanco, Willingboro Township. Micajah Dobbins was named the first postmaster and the post office operated out of his general store at 400 Poplar Street, at the corner of Franklin. He served until 1860. This event served as the first official recognition of the name Delanco for the town.
February 25, 1858: The Delanco Methodist Society came together as the Methodist Episcopal Church of Delanco. The society had its roots in the Cooper Town Meeting House in Willingboro. In the early 1900s, the church adopted the name Dobbins Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church to honor Micajah Dobbins, an early parishioner.
March 1, 1859: Beverly Township officially separated from Wellingborough Township using the Great Road as a boundary. Beverly City was included within Beverly Township. Beverly City did not separate from Beverly Township until 1877. Delanco was still regarded as a village, a rail and steamboat stop, and a post office within Beverly Township until this time.
1859: R.K. Kuhn & J.D. Janney published their New Map of Burlington County. It included an inset for the village of Delanco. It also listed three Delanco merchants with the directory of Willingborough (sic) businesses: R.F. Wilmerton, Coal and Lumber; Micajah Dobbins, Dry Goods and Groceries; and Henry Kreiner, Pile Driver.
1859: The Camden-Amboy Railroad was acquired by the United New Jersey Railroad & Canal Company. This company also operated the Delaware & Raritan Canal which ran between the Delaware River at Bordentown and the Raritan River in New Brunswick.
1859: The original railroad station, known as Rancocas Bridge or Rancocas Crossing, was replaced with a new structure built on Railroad (Pennsylvania) Avenue near the foot of Walnut Street. The new station was named Delanco Station.
August 29, 1860: Postal service was suspended in Delanco with the resignation of Isaac Buck as postmaster. It did not resume until December 14, 1860 when Samuel C. Deacon was appointed postmaster.
Spring-Summer 1861: French inventor Brutus de Villeroi tested the 33-foot prototype of the submarine Alligator on the Rancocas Creek for three months. The vessel was equipped with a divers’ chamber to deploy and recover hard-hat divers while submerged. De Villeroi claimed the submarine was primarily built for undersea salvage operations and not for military purposes.
May 3, 1861: Commander Henry K. Hoff, USN was ordered to observe the trials of the Alligator prototype on the Rancocas Creek. Commander Hoff filed a formal report on his observations of the tests run on the prototype, reporting that “the services of the engineer would be very valuable to the Government, and the possession of his invention would be an acquisition of the greatest importance.” He suggested that having such a device would prove an excellent deterrent to a foreign nation.
May 16, 1861: The prototype Alligator submarine boat and two members of its crew were captured by Philadelphia port authorities while it was lying at anchor in the Delaware River. The interior of the vessel was inspected by a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer.
July 1861: Three naval officers, Henry K. Hoff, Charles Steadman, and Robert Danby met in Delanco with French inventor Brutus DeVilleroi to examine Alligator, the prototype diving machine of his invention. The group recommended its acquisition by the US Navy as a counter measure against the expected deployment of Confederate ironclads.
1861: The United New Jersey Railroad & Canal Company was acquired by the Pennsylvania Railroad who took over the operation of railroad service in Delanco.
1861: Railroad Avenue in Delanco was renamed Pennsylvania Avenue.
November 1861: Inventor Brutus de Villeroi was issued a US Naval contract to build a full-scale submersible warship based on the Alligatordesign tested in the Rancocas Creek earlier in the year.
May 1, 1862: The USS Alligator, the US Navy’s first submersible warship was launched at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
1862: The Delanco schoolhouse added a second classroom measuring 24 feet x 24 feet.
April 1863: The USS Alligator, the US Navy’s first submersible warship, was lost off Cape Hatteras during a fierce storm at sea. It was in the process of being towed to Charleston to be put into action against the Confederates.
1864: Camden-Amboy Railway locomotive No.1, known as the “John Bull” was taken out of regular service after 32 years. It went into stationary operation for a time powering a sawmill, then was transferred to the Smithsonian Institute, but its work was not finished. It was taken from the museum several times and put back into limited service as a working exhibition. First at the American Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876, then at the World Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893. It was last taken out of the Smithsonian in 1981 and fired up, celebrating its remarkable 150-year history as a working steam locomotive.
1865: The first public library was built.
1866: Delanco was designated a Road District by the State Legislature. As such, it was empowered to elect a board of three commissioners and allocated funds to maintain roads, streets and other improvements.
1867: The village of Progress changed its name to Riverside.
1867: The United New Jersey Railroad & Canal Company was formed.
1870: At the urging of local farmers led by Abraham Perkins, plans and funding for a Delanco-Riverside bridge were approved by County government. The result was the first wagon and passenger bridge constructed across the Rancocas River, connecting Pavilion Avenue in Riverside and Burlington Avenue in Delanco. It was 400 feet long with bowed truss spans set on masonry piers in the river. It used a 120-ft. cantilever draw to open for marine traffic. It was built by Moseley Bridge & Roof Co. at a cost of $50,000. It saved local farmers and businessmen doing business in Riverside a five mile trip upriver to cross at Bridgeboro. The route would later become part of Burlington County Route 543.
1871: The Pennsylvania Railroad was formed and took over the assets of the Camden & Amboy Railroad. All records of early railroad construction agree that this ancient stretch of track was one of the first to be laid anywhere in the United States. In Delanco, Railroad Avenue was renamed Pennsylvania Avenue.
July 5, 1872: The steamboat Edwin Forest began service on the upper Delaware River with stops in Delanco.
1873: The first pier bridge was constructed across the Rancocas Creek at Bridgeboro. It replaced ferry service that was discontinued after 126 years.
March 1, 1874: The first church service was held in the new First Presbyterian Church, led by Rev. Martin Luther Hofford. The church was built on Union Avenue at the intersection of Franklin and Poplar across from the town square. It remains at location and has been remodeled and expanded several times.
May 19, 1876: The steamboat Nelly White came to the Delaware River from New York. It established a regular excursion route between Philadelphia and Bordentown with seven stops. It provided a convenient way for people to come to the Centennial in Philadelphia. Daniel S. Mershon was the first commander.
1876: The Methodist Episcopal Church on Union Avenue in Delanco dedicated a new bell tower and steeple as an addition to its original building. The new church bell at the Methodist Episcopal Church was rung for the first time on New Year’s Eve.
1877: Swiss-born industrialist Theophilus Zurbrugg arrived in Mount Holly in this year. He moved on to Philadelphia in 1880 to establish the Keystone Watch Case Company. He returned to Riverside in 1892 to build the Keystone Watch Case factory adjacent to the Pavilion Hotel on Pavilion Avenue.
1877?: Beverly City separated from Beverly Township.
1878: A human skeleton of a native-American was excavated from a farmer’s field and was kept on display in one of the local hotels until at least 1883.
1880: The 1880 census disclosed that there were about 150 homes in Delanco, and a population of about 450.
1881: The Methodist Episcopal Church was engaged in a battle with the town over liquor traffic. The temperance movement won, but the church lost membership.
1881: Andress Ridgway began manufacturing children’s shoes in the garage of his home on Ash Street at the corner of Rancocas Avenue. He began with three employees.
1883: Delanco Township erected a town hall on Town Square on Union Avenue between Chestnut and Hickory streets. This was the first of three town halls that have been built and used in Delanco to date. The building was demolished in 1952.
1883: The sawmill on Poplar Street was no longer operating. It was later converted into a pickle factory and eventually burned down.
1885: Andress Ridgway constructed a frame shoe factory at the foot of Ash Street. Ridgway built a second, brick structure in 1912. The frame structure was destroyed by fire in 1922.
April 19, 1890: Delanco Savings and Loan was established in town. Its first location was in the home of William Stickel on Burlington Avenue at Vine Street. It remained at that location until at least 1929, and later moved to 615 Burlington Avenue at the corner of Union Avenue.
1890s: Electric lights and telephone service came to Burlington County.
1890: A third classroom was added to the original schoolhouse.
1892: Industrialist Theophilus Zurbrugg moved the headquarters and production facility for his Keystone Watch Case Company from Philadelphia to a new location adjacent to the Pavilion Avenue Hotel in Riverside. The company was a major employer in the area for many years. Many of his workers lived in Delanco and walked over the bridge to work.
1893: The venerable “John Bull” steam-powered locomotive that had opened the Camden–Amboy railway service through Delanco in 1832 and retired in 1864, was once again taken from display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington to be put into limited service. It was run by railunder its own power to the World Columbian Exhibition in Chicago, where it was put on working display. Many dignitaries took the opportunity to ride this historic train. The locomotive was last taken out of the Smithsonian in 1981 and fired up, celebrating its remarkable 150-year history as a working steam engine.
Summer 1897: Men of the Delanco Methodist Church held a summer camp meeting in a wooded lot at the corner of Burlington Avenue and Cooper Street known as Fletcher’s Grove. Attendees enjoyed the experience so much they solicited the church to make it an annual event.
February 22, 1898: Delanco’s first fire brigade was formed on Washington’s birthday. Founding members selected the name Washington Fire Co. The brigade was not incorporated until 1900.
April 1898: Rev. George Ridout and the men of Delanco Methodist Church convinced Charles E. Fletcher to sell Fletcher’s Grove, a 20-acre wooded parcel on Burlington Avenue for $4,000. The Fletchers Grove Camp Meeting Society incorporated to operate the camp. Participants initially stayed in tents and took their meals in a large dining tent.
June 24, 1898: The first camp meeting operated by the new Fletcher’s Grove Camp Meeting Association was held. The property had been selected by Rev. George Ridout of the Delanco Methodist Church and purchased from Charles E. Fletcher. The new Fletcher Grove Camp Meeting Association developed the property into a camp meeting ground to hold revivals in the Holiness Movement tradition. Participants in the 10-day revivals tented on the property until 1902 when a dormitory was erected for bed and board. An auditorium was erected in 1904. The Local Preacher’s Association of the New Jersey Conference of the Methodist Church began using the site for revivals in 1910. The Association erected a building in that year to serve as a preacher’s dormitory and space for children’s gatherings. The Fletcher’s Grove Camp Meeting Association joined with the Preacher’s Association to become the Delanco Camp Meeting Association in 1946. In 1964, the Delanco Camp Meeting Association purchased a larger tract of property in Vincentown and moved the summer revivals to that new location. Today the Camp Meeting site is a shopping center.
March 8, 1900: Delanco’s first Fire fighting company was incorporated. Volunteers used a hand-drawn wagon. The company purchased $358 worth of firefighting equipment. The first firehouse was in Mike Hart’s meat market on Ash Street, and was later moved to Union Avenue.
1901-1902: The railroad bridge over the Rancocas was rebuilt, replacing the original 1832 structure.
1901: A new heavier capacity pedestrian and automobile bridge was built across the Rancocas Creek. This was accomplished by constructing a new Warren truss bridge inside of the old bow truss bridge on the original river piers. The original bow trusses were then removed.
1901: Trolley service was established between Camden and Burlington utilizing the newly strengthened bridge. Vertical structures carried the trolley lines across the span. The trolley line was later extended to Trenton. Many Delanco residents served as motormen and conductors on the line.
1902: Fletcher’s Grove Camp Meeting Association began a program of constructing frame buildings for worship, dining, and dormitories. These remained until the Camp Meeting moved to a new location in Tabernacle in 1964. The buildings were demolished about 1974.
1902: Delanco’s first firehouse was constructed on Ash Street. The frame structure was later moved to Union Avenue and served until the two-story masonry firehouse was built in 1919.
1902: The two-story, eight-room Hickory Street School was built behind the Town Hall and Town Square on land acquired from Andress Ridgway. Bonds were issued by Burlington City Loan & Trust.
May 29, 1902: An American Canoe Association (ACA) Atlantic Division sailing canoe meet was held in the Delaware River, hosted by Monte Carlo Canoe Club in Delanco. The private sailing club was located at or near the Union Avenue Wharf. Little is known about the sailing association.
1903: Delanco United Methodist Church underwent a major renovation and was renamed Dobbins Memorial United Methodist Church in honor of Micajah Dobbins, a church father and benefactor of the renovation.
1904: An auditorium, known as the Tabernacle was erected at the Fletcher’s Grove Camp Meeting. The building was used regularly until Delanco Camp Meeting moved its summer revivals to new acreage in Tabernacle, NJ in 1964. It was used in June of 1961 for the Delanco School’s eighth grade graduation, because a fire had gutted the nearby Walnut Street School Auditiorium. The Tabernacle was demolished in 1974 to make way for the new Camp Meeting Shopping Center developed by the Whitesell Corporation.
1906: The Fletcher family developed their vineyard property, west of Burlington Avenue to the “cut”, and Vine Street south to Rancocas Avenue as a housing development known as the Fletcher Tract or Walter Extention. Orchard Avenue and Washington and Walter Streets were put in. Most homes in this development date from 1906. Fletcher’s original home and winery can still be seen at 239 Vine Street. It is currenly used as a multi-family dwelling.
1906: Pennsylvania Railroad installed a new, higher-level railroad bridge with a central swing span. The section was delivered by barge, and was considered one of the largest movable spans built to date.
1907: The VanSciver Line brought the steamer Annie to the Rancocas Creek to serve as an excursion boat. It was constructed in Pocomoke City, Maryland in 1899 as the E. James Tull and had been operating on the Chesapeake Bay. Excursion service operated until 1912. Freight service continued until about 1920.
1908: Delanco Fire Company acquired its first fire fighting apparatus, a hand-drawn wagon.
March 8, 1910: United Boys Brigade #1642 was chartered in Delanco. It was based at First Presbyterian Church.
1910: The Local Preacher’s Association of the New Jersey Conference of the Methodist Church began using the Fletcher’s Grove Camp Meeting site for revivals. The Association erected a building in that year to serve as a preacher’s dormitory and space for children’s gatherings.
1910: Theophilus Zurbrugg, owner of the Keystone Watch Case Company in Riverside, purchased an entire block of riverfront property on Delaware Avenue in Delanco between Union Avenue and Willow Streets. He built a large three-story home fronted with two-story classic columns and a carriage house. These buildings were the last commission of noted Philadelphia architect Frank Furness of Furness & Evans and was constructed by Hugh B. Miller of Edgewater Park. One of the two pre-existing structures on the site, the Wood’s Property, was moved to a new lot at Willow and Third Street. The second structure, the Carruthers-Johnson Mansion remained.
1911: Delanco suffered an epidemic of diphtheria. Hickory Street School had to be closed for fumigation. Teachers were trained to recognize the symptoms of the disease.
1912: The Ridgway Shoe Factory constructs a brick factory to replace the 1885 frame structure. Both buildings exist side-by-side on the Ash Street property for a time until the original structure is demolished.
1912: Industrialist Theophilus Zurbrugg died at age 51 as a result of a second stroke. A legacy established the Zurbrugg Memorial Hospital in Riverside. The family donated the former mansion to the town for use as a community hospital. The structure was first used as the hospital, and then served as the nursing office when a new hospital was built on adjacent property. The structure was demolished about 1935 for a parking lot when the hospital was completed.
February 16, 1912: The Delanco Fire Company reactivated. It took the name Washington Fire Company No. 1 because of the date’s proximity to Washington’s birthday.
1912: Sinex Annex was established. This was a fifteen square block housing development between the Delaware River and Burlington Avenue, east of Hazel Street to Lilac Lane. Harry J. Dennis served as real estate agent. His son, Philip Roy Dennis purchased the first lot at Hazel and Third and built a home in 1912.
1913: The Lewis Steel Shipbuilding Company, a small firm on the Rancocas Creek at the foot of Poplar Street, was reconstituted as Rancocas Construction Company with three additional partners and new capital. It built substantial tugboats and trawlers until it closed in 1917.
1915: Delanco’s population was listed as 1,200.
June 6, 1916: Delanco Fire Company purchased its first motorized vehicle, a Vim fire truck.
1916: NJ State Legislature designated the route of the Great Road through Burlington County as NJ Route 2. It retained this designation until 1927.
1917: The old Donovan Hotel and Tavern on Rancocas Avenue at Pennsylvania Avenue closed after 65 years of operation when the local option law went into effect and Delanco no longer allowed any “thirst quenching” stations. The hotel was built as the Kreiner Hotel in 1852. It was finally demolished in 1937.
July 5, 1917: The covered section of the east side of the bridge carrying the Bridgeboro Pike over the Rancocas Creek was completely destroyed by fire. Bridgeboro Fire Company called for assistance from Riverside and Delanco to help fight the blaze.
October 1918: This month represented the peak of the Influenza Epidemic. 11,000 people died in Philadelphia, 550,000 people died nationally, and 30 million people died worldwide.
1919: Washington Fire Co. replaced its small, one-story frame fire house on the west side of Union Avenue across from Town Square with a larger two-story, double bay brick structure. The wooden structure was carted to Walnut Street, and was later used to house the Osmond & Beck Print Shop.
1920: Washington Fire Co. acquired its second piece of motorized equipment, a 1920 Acme pumper truck.
May 12, 1922: Ridgway Shoe Factory's original frame building was burned in a fire. Delanco’s chief, Joseph Kimble, called for help in fighting this roaring fire. Fire company records indicate the building was not destroyed, although virtually every window was broken by the force of the fire hoses. Ridgway's newer brick building survived the fire. The shoe Company was one of the largest employers in the area at the time.
1923: Lizette Mueller Zurbrugg, widow of Theophilus Zurbrugg died. The riverfront mansion was sold to Mr. & Mrs. E.George Schwinn.
1923: Howard Russ purchased the remainder of the Newton Farm from two Newton heirs: Florence M. and Edna J. Thomas.
1923: The automobile bridge across the Rancocas was once again reinforced to accommodate heavier trolley traffic.
December 28, 1923: Washington Fire Company acquired a 1923 Seagraves fire truck to add to its fleet. It could pump 750 gallons per minute and was quickly nicknamed “Big Bertha”. The unit served until 1953.
July 1, 1924: Professional baseball player Babe Ruth played in an exhibition baseball game in Delanco. Ruth and a team of Delanco semi-pro AA team played the Burlington County All-Stars, beating them 4-2. About 5,000 people reportedly attended the game, which was reportedly played on the Cooper Street baseball field. The event was covered in all the local newspapers.
November 1, 1924: Hope Hose Fire Company building was dedicated in Delanco.
1925: A new school was built on Walnut Street between Burlington Avenue and Chestnut Street. It took the name Walnut Street School to differentiate it from the Hickory Street School. It had nine classrooms and a capacity of 800.
1926: A new pipe organ was installed and dedicated at Dobbins Church. The cost was $2,500.
November 2, 1926: As a result of a citizens’ petition, a referendum was placed on the ballot of this date to separate Delanco Township from Beverly Township. The referendum carried.
December 20, 1926: The New Jersey State Legislature recorded the results of the referendum and officially incorporated Delanco Township, separate from Beverly Township. The same Legislature also created Edgewater Park Township, separate from Beverly Township.
January 1, 1927: The new Delanco Township Committee met and organized.
1927: The Freeholders of Burlington County replaced the open span Rancocas Bridge at Bridgeboro on the Great Road once again. The new structure was a four-lane, masonry and steel cantilever drawbridge.
1927: New Jersey Route 2 through Burlington County was now designated as New Jersey Route 25. It retained this designation until 1953. The highway was four-lane with a grass median for most of its length.
1927: Delanco’s Walnut Street School was closed and fumigated in 1927 due to a case of poliomyelitis as per state requirement.
December 1, 1928: The Riverton Ice and Cold Storage Company located on River Road in East Riverton caught fire. Fire companies from Riverton, Palmyra and Moorestown were unable to gain control and trucks from Riverside, Delanco and Bridgeboro were called in to assist.
1934: Atlantic Tube and Box was established on Ash Street at Rancocas Avenue in Delanco by Bernard Gerhardt. The plant later moved to Cooper Street at the corner of Hickory, where it operated until it was destroyed by fire in 1987.
1934: The Burlington County freeholders replaced the automobile-trolley bridge across the Rancocas Creek between Delanco and Riverside with a new concrete decked bridge with a turntable opening, constructed in the Pony Truss style. During the demolition of the second (1901) bridge, a temporary single leaf drawspan was installed temporarily.
February 1935: During construction of the Delanco-Riverside Bridge it was also determined that the design of the bridge would allow flooding of the turntable mechanism under extreme high water. Consulting engineer Bridgeweld Engineering of NY was replaced by Ash, Howard, Needles & Tammen of NY. The new turntable span was built four feet higher, with approach spans three feet higher than originally designed. The project was contracted by Kolyn Construction Co and built by the American Bridge Co. at a cost $252,000.
September 14, 1935: The third automobile and pedestrian bridge across the Rancocas River connecting Delanco and Riverside was dedicated. It was named the Landon-Stone Bridge after Thomas Landon and Edward Stone, two Burlington County residents who were high-ranking officers in the Spanish-American War and World War I. Both veterans died in 1934 during the time the bridge was under construction. Relatives of the two officers were on hand for the dedication and ribbon-cutting, which included a grand parade.
1936: Washington Fire Co. purchased a 600 gallon per minute Seagraves pumper. It served until 1963.
1937: The old Donovan Hotel on Rancocas Avenue at Pennsylvania Avenue was demolished. It was built in 1852 had been closed since Prohibition’s local options laws were enforced in 1917.
1938: “Through” passenger service ends on the Pennsylvania Railroad.
1940: Delanco resident Andy Collum died. Collum was a Civil War veteran and an influential vaudevillian billed as the “Greatest Banjoist in these United States.” He was also reported to have served as a drummer boy in the Union Army, and was the last surviving witness to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Collum operated a bowling alley on Walnut Street between Mulberry and Laurel Streets for many years.
August 8, 1941: Burlington County staged its first blackout in Delanco as part of the war effort.
October 23, 1944: Dobbins United Methodist Church purchased 330 Union Avenue from the Outcalt family for a parsonage.
1946: The Fletcher’s Grove Camp Meeting Association joined with the Preacher’s Association to become the Delanco Camp Meeting Association.
1947: Delanco Emergency Squad replaced its original ambulance with a new Cadillac ambulance. It remained in service until 1951.
1947: Washington Fire Company purchased a Diamond T-chassis fire truck.
1947-1949: Dobbins United Methodist Church completed a major renovation. The old parsonage was incorporated into the church as a Sunday school building. It included classrooms and Del-Meth Hall.
1948: Dan’s Boatyard, one of two Delanco marinas on the Rancocas Creek, was established by Dan Thomas and Stella Yursik Ward.
October 22, 1948: In a single day: the Burlington County Bridge Commission was created by the Burlington County Freeholders, Commissioners were selected, $12 million in bonds were floated, and the new commission acquired title to the Burlington-Bristol and Tacony-Palmyra Bridges from a group of private investors led by Delanco resident Clifford Powell. At that time Powell was serving as Chief of Staff in the Department of Defense. Investors reaped a $6 million profit in the transaction, triggering an investigation and punitive action. The Bridge Commission survived the uproar, and shortly thereafter was given authority over the Landon-Stone Bridge between Delanco and Riverside, along with other bridges regarded as approaches to these major two Delaware Bridges.
May 1949: Firebrand preacher Carl McIntyre purchased the Zurbrugg-Schwinn mansion for use as a senior residence he named Bible Presbyterian Home. McIntyre built a major two story addition to the rear of the building to increase the residential capacity. He operated the home until 1976. It remained opened as a residential health care unit until the late 1980s.
1951: The official boundary between Delanco Township, Edgewater Township, and Beverly City was adjusted.
1951: Delanco Building & Loan Association changed its name to Delanco Savings & Loan Association.
1952: Delanco Building and Loan Association moved to 615 Burlington Avenue.
July 1, 1952: USPS home mail delivery was instituted in Delanco under postmaster Charles I. Winkelspecht.
1952: Town Hall on Town Square was demolished to make additional space for school athletics.
1953: New Jersey Route 25 was redesignated as US Highway 130. The highway forms the southeastern border of Delanco Township.
1953: Washington Fire Co. purchased its first Seagraves Anniversary pumper truck and they retired “Big Bertha”, their 1923 Seagraves pumper.
1954: Delanco’s Walnut Street School added a wing along Burlington Avenue because of the post-war housing boom at the northeastern end of town. It contained four additional classrooms, a kindergarten, and an exterior court for play.
May 31, 1954: Delanco Post Office, which had been in operation since October 5, 1957, was downgraded to a substation of Riverside Post Office. It was located in the Colonial Building on Burlington Avenue at Holly Street. Charles I. Winkelspecht served as Delanco’s last postmaster.
1956: The main channel of the Delaware River was dredged to improve navigation during the Eisenhower Administration. Some of the dredge spoils were deposited at the western tip of Delanco in the passage between the town and Hawk Island, turning the island into a peninsula.
1957: Delanco Women’s Club amended its bylaws to establish a Gardens Club and expand its activities. The club was named Club of the Year by the Burlington County Times for its Holiday Fair project.
April 29, 1961: The familiar Pennsylvania Railroad locomotive Nellie Blymade its last trip along the river line. Passenger revenues were falling and schedules were being curtailed.
1961: The Delanco Free Library Association was incorporated to upgrade services to the community. In 1964 the library was moved to the basement of the new Municipal Building. The collection was completely catalogued using the Dewey Decimal System in 1965.
1961: A major fire severely damaged the auditorium at Walnut Street School. It was caused by faulty wiring under the stage. Graduation had to be held at nearby Delanco Camp Meeting Tabernacle in June of that year.
1962: Delanco Board of Education purchased a parcel of land from Joseph B. Carter, Jr. for construction of an additional grammar school. It was known for many years as Burlington Avenue School. New state regulations kept it at one story. It included an all-purpose room, library, two offices, nurses’ clinic, nine classrooms, teachers’ room, and kitchen. The name was later changed to M. Joan Pearson School.
1963: Passenger service was discontinued on the Pennsylvania Railroad.
1963: Washington Fire Co. purchased their second Seagraves Anniversary pumper truck. They retired their 1936 Seagrave pumper.
1964: Veterans Memorial Hall, the former schoolhouse, was demolished to make room for the new Township Municipal Building on Buttonwood Street between Burlington and Vine.
1964: The Delanco Camp Meeting Association purchased a larger tract of property on Sooy Place in Tabernacle and moved the summer revivals to that new location. Today the Camp Meeting site is a shopping center.
1965: Kaiser Gypsum and Cement Co of California established a wallboard plant on a 47-acre waterfront site in Delanco. It had two buildings, a main 250,000 sq. ft. building, a smaller 50,000 sq. ft. building, a deepwater wharf and giant offloading conveyor. At its peak the plant employed 160 and produced 220 million sq. ft. of wallboard a year.
1966: The Burlington County Bridge Commission took ownership and maintenance of the Landon-Stone Bridge connecting Delanco and Riverside, because the bridge and road (County Route 543) acted as a “feeder” to both the Burlington Bristol and Tacony-Palmyra Bridges.
1966: The Landon-Stone Bridge was resurfaced by the Bridge Commission.
1967: Dobbins Church underwent a major renovation at a cost of $69,000.
1968: The pipe organ at Dobbins Church was renovated at a cost of $11,265.
1968: The Methodist Churches merged with Evangelical United Bretheran. Dobbins Church became Dobbins Memorial United Methodist Church.
1968: The Pennsylvania Railroad merged with the New York Central System to form the Penn Central Corporation. Due to gross mismanagement, the new rail company went bankrupt in 1970, 867 days after its formation.
1969: The Burlington County NEWSWeekly began publishing a weekly newspaper to cover the communities of Western Burlington County. Originally the paper was published with three regional editions names North, South, and East. The publication was produced from an office in Delanco for a number of years before the paper moved to Moorestown. It is currently located on Mill Street in Moorestown and has shortened its name to the NEWSWeekly.
1969: The remainder of the Union Avenue Steamboat Wharf was demolished. The crib and rubble wharf had been constructed in 1850, but had fallen into disrepair in later years.
1970: The population of Delanco was approximately 4,400.
1970: The Penn Central Corporation went bankrupt 867 days after it was founded, due to mismanagement. The company continued to flounder for about 5 years until the US Congress voted to salvage all insolvent railroads in the northeast into the Consolidated Rail Corporation, or Conrail.
1972: A group of local citizens picketed the Kaiser Gypsum plant, protesting air pollution from the factory and noise from late night off-loading operations at the pier.
1973: Washington Fire Co. purchased an open cab Seagraves K pumper truck.
1974: The last of the Camp Meeting buildings, the dormitories and Tabernacle, were demolished to make way for the Camp Meeting Shopping Center developed by Whitesell Corporation. The name was retained to honor the history of the institution.
1974: The Delanco postal substation moved from the Colonial Building to the Camp Meeting Center at 801 Burlington Avenue.
1976: Delanco celebrated the country’s Bicentennial with parades, ceremonies, and special events. These included a Liberty Tree Planting Ceremony throughout the town. The town’s Bicentennial history book was published in 1977.
April 1, 1976: The Penn Central Railroad, which had gone bankrupt in 1970, was one of 13 insolvent northeast railroads salvaged by the US Congress into the Consolidated Rail Corporation, or Conrail. Passenger service terminated on the old Camden & Amboy rail line. Freight service continued under Conrail, which continued to run about five trains a day.
1976: New Jersey Transit was formed, taking over from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT).
1976: The Kaiser Gypsum plant ceased operations due to a downturn in new housing starts. The plant had been in operation in Delanco for 11 years.
1976: Carl McIntyre’s riverfront Bible Presbyterian Home was unable to meet new fire code requirements and was forced to cease operations. It continued as a residential healthcare facility on a limited basis until the 1980s.
1976: The Riverfront Historical Society was established to help coordinate the historic research and preservation efforts of Delanco, Edgewater Park and Beverly.
1977: The Landon-Stone Bridge was resurfaced by the Bridge Commission.
1977: The Delanco Story – Its Past and Present, was assembled and edited by a committee of local historians operating under a small grant, and published as a Bicentennial project. It was edited by Charles A. Frush. Associate editors were Adair (Bud) Herbst, Margaret (Peg) Hunter, and Agnes Perkins. Photo editor was J. Lester Daniels, Sr. Assistant Photographers were Nelson Harding and Earl Hines. Many residents assisted with research and reporting. Two printings of 500 books each were released to families in Delanco.
May 7, 1981: The Riverfront Historical Society was formally incorporated. It was created by the merger of the Bicentennial Book Committees of Delanco, Beverly and Edgewater Park to continue the work of preserving and promoting local history.
1983: Hickory Street School closed after over 80 years of service. There was an unsuccessful attempt made to place the building on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1902 and demolished in 1984.
July 23, 1984: Thermal Reduction Company in Riverside suffered an 8-alarm fire that ranked with the worst in the history of Riverside. It developed into a raging inferno and for several hours officials feared a major explosion and catastrophe. About 175 men were working inside the factory when the fire started in the area of the sweat furnace. The main order of business was to keep heat and flames away from two large propane tanks and a nitrogen tank capable of leveling the entire area. Pavilion Avenue Bridge was closed for 8 hours and township officials began making plans for the total evacuation of Delanco. Smoke and flames were visible for miles and thousands of spectators gathered to watch from a distance, many unaware of the potential danger. The fire roared out of control almost 5 hours. 20 firemen were treated for smoke inhalation and the toxic fumes and potential explosions forced the evacuation of 65 patients from Zurbrugg Memorial Hospital to the hospital in Willingboro. Before it was extinguished 15 fire companies, including a fireboat from Croydon, Pa., and 14 emergency squads, fought the fire. 8 firefighters from Delanco were hospitalized: Richard Erhart, Lisa Balsama, Bruce Herbst, Patrick Orfe, Eugene Johnson, Kevin Ryan, Judith James and Jacqueline Clark. In addition there were 4 hospitalized from Riverside, 3 from Delran, 3 from Cinnaminson, 1 from Riverton, and 1 from Edgewater Park. The blaze caused damages estimated as high as $10 million, and destroyed a 100,000 square foot section of the old Riverside Metal Works building.
September 4, 1984: Hickory Street School, which had been built in 1902, was demolished. The school bell was removed and taken to the Walnut Street School lobby for display. The stone “1902” blocks were also preserved.
October 1985: A new firehouse at 1800 Burlington Avenue was dedicated. It replaced the aging 1919 firehouse on Union Avenue. The new house was much larger and more centrally-located in the growing township.
January 8, 1986: McAlinden blasting contractors demolished the old four-lane drawbridge which formerly carried Route 130 across the Rancocas at Bridgeboro. It required three blasts to drop the span. The bridge was replaced by a six-lane high-level span. The old bridge was notorious for accidents and near-misses.
March 2, 1987: The R.H. Gerhardt tube and box factory on Hickory and Cooper Streets was destroyed by fire. The company had been in business since 1934. The structure was built in 1927.
1988: Distributec, Inc. proposed establishing an international deep-water port at their location, 2700 Burlington Avenue, the former Kaiser Gypsum Plant. They proposed extending the existing pier to 470 feet. The proposal was in the courts for four years until it was denied in 1992. The decision was appealed by Distributec.
1990: The population of Delanco was 3,316.
March 1992: The Zurbrugg-Schwinn mansion reopened as an adult assisted living facility under the name The Columns. Just prior to opening, the Columns served as the 1992 Designer Show House to raise funds for the Zurbrugg Hospital Foundation.
May 12, 1994: A state appeals court upheld a 1992 decision preventing Distributec from building a deepwater port at their location, 2700 Burlington Avenue, the former Kaiser Gypsum plant and wharf.
1994: The Burlington County Bridge Commission replaced the pedestrian walkway on the Landon-Stone Bridge.
May 8, 1995: The Conweb Plant on Coopertown Road went up in flames, the second major fire in the plant in four months. Delanco fire company called for help, but the structure and inventory were lost despite efforts of 14 fire companies. It took more than five hours to bring under control. The 250,000 square foot factory employed about 150 people. The factory produced cellulose padding used for mattresses and automobile interiors.
May 14, 1997: Burlington County Freeholders passed measures to purchase the 133-acre Pennington farm with the intention of preserving it as open space, and part of the Rancocas Greenway. The decision had not yet been made as to whether to lease the land out for farming or use it for parkland.
1998: The Newton’s Landing development was approved by ordinance 1998-11, and construction began. This was the first development approved in many years.
June 1, 1999: Conrail (Shared Assets) LLC sold the former Camden & Amboy trackage between Camden and Trenton to New Jersey Transit for $67.5 million as the public transit agency began working on its Southern New Jersey Transportation System. This was the first step toward restoring passenger service which had been dormant for 22 years.
June 1999: The Beverly Bee newspaper began publishing monthly in Burlington City under Publisher Beverly Haaf.
1999: Proposed plans for a new housing development and golf course on the farmlands of Frank B. Pennington along the Rancocas Creek were scrapped. Burlington County acquired the property from the Pennington Estate for the purpose of creating a public park for passive recreation.
2000: Railroad trestle and turntable bridge was removed in preparation for replacement by a new high-level railroad bridge. The turntable mechanism was 75 years old and still in excellent working order.
2000: The US Census taken in this year indicated that Delanco had 3,237 residents; 1,227 households; 892 families.
November 2000: In a referendum taken during the general election, voters were asked to approve a change in the township committee, increasing the number of members from 3 to 5. The referendum passed, and the change was instituted in January of 2002.
December 21, 2001: The new Newton’s Landing development became a reality when its first resident, Al Schmitt moved into the first home at 5 McCay Way.
2001: A new high-level, bow-arch, railroad suspension bridge was constructed across the Rancocas Creek to accommodate the new River Line. The 64 meter central bridge deck was floated up the Rancocas on a barge, and then was topped off by crane operating from the shore. The first arch girder section was set on March 29, 2001.
March 29, 2001: Pulte Homes Corporation, developer of Newton's Landing withdrew its application to the army to construct a recreational L-shaped dock with a floating session on the Rancocas.
April 5, 2001: In May the new railroad bridge met with near disaster. The structure was almost complete and was being painted by a crew using man-lifts set aboard the barge. About noon, the barge carrying the 725-ton bridge became unstable, tipped at its mooring and the top-heavy bridge structure toppled, pinning the crane and throwing several bridge workers and equipment into the Creek.
July 27, 2001: After months of planning by the Bechtel Company, a California subcontractor brought in specialized equipment including a massive diesel powered winch. About midnight the barge was finally righted and righted and refloated. The bridge structure was floated into place at flood tide and stabilized. Minor damage to the bridge was subsequently repaired.
August 1, 2001: The new lightrail bridge was secured to its piers. The completed bridge is 210 feet long, 40 feet wide, 60 feet high.
2002: As per approval of a referendum put forward in the 2000 general election, the Delanco Township Committee increased from three to five members.
February 12, 2002: A bulk carrier named the Sun sailing upriver under the Maltese flag, drifted out of the deepwater shipping channel and ran aground on Hawk Island about 300 yards east of the mouth of the Rancocas Creek. It was bound for the Novolog steel plant in Falls Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The ship took on water, and a portion of its cargo of coiled steel sheets had to be offloaded to lighter the load. It took several days to set the Sun back on its way.
2003: The new high level railroad bridge was floated into place at flood tide and lowered onto its new concrete piers by slowly flooding the barge – an all-night procedure viewed by hundreds of spectators.
March 2004: A new light rail passenger service known as the River Line was established between the Camden waterfront and Trenton, once again connecting the riverfront communities, after a 28-year hiatus. Most of the original roadbed was replaced with concrete ties and continuous rails, and the turntable railroad bridge was replaced by a high-level suspension bridge. Fares were initially set at $1.10 for a two-hour trip. In the early months, many families took excursions on the new train just to enjoy the scenery.
November 15, 2004: Delanco Township Municipal Complex was dedicated on Coopertown Road in Delanco. The new township building is 12,000 square feet, replacing the old 4,800 square foot township building on Burlington Avenue. The old township building was to be turned over to the Delanco Recreation Department for community activities and storage. It was, instead sold to a Moorestown businessman.
January 1, 2005: Delanco Township established a new nine-member Historic Preservation Advisory Board for the purpose of research, preservation and publication of Delanco History.
2005: Delanco Township Committee purchased the historic Zurbrugg-Schwinn riverfront mansion. They plan to rezone the property and sell or lease it for narrowly-defined use.
2006: Delanco Federal Savings Bank opened its first branch office at 506 US Hwy 130, Suite One, in Cinnaminson. It also announced its first public offering of stock.
April 19, 2006: Pennington Park was established on the 140-acre site of the former Pennington Family Farm on Creek Road in Delanco, as part of the new Burlington County park system. Opening ceremonies included descendents of William B. and Frank B. Pennington and officials from local and county government. The park, with its 2.3 miles of pedestrian and bike trails and many acres of restored meadows, wetland and forest will be part of a planned Rancocas Greenway.
December 20, 2006: The new auditorium to the M. Joan Pearson School on Burlington Avenue was dedicated as the Joseph Miller auditorium, in honor of the former superintendent, who served Delanco schools for 21 years.
2007: Delanco Township purchased the 15,000 sq. ft. Columns riverfront mansion for $2.1 million. The building was rezoned for economic development and has been used sporadically for township events. The property is listed for sale and the township is actively looking for proposals for development.
January 24, 2007: The Burlington County Freeholders voted to purchase three additional acres of open space on the Rancocas Creek adjacent to Newton’s Landing and near Pennington Park. They paid $745,000 for the acreage, which will become part of the planned Rancocas greenway.
May 26, 2007: A man lost his $65,000 carbon fiber prosthetic leg in the Delaware River near the mouth of the Rancocas Creek while riding on a wave runner. The prosthesis was neither insured nor recovered.
2007: Black Bear Division of Dietz & Watson established a major food distribution center on Coopertown Road.
2007: The development firm of J2 Associated submitted a proposal to Delanco Township for the Zurbrugg Mansion. The plan was to convert the mansion to a bed & breakfast, convert the carriage house to a condominium, and to construct 7 additional condominium units on the property. The proposal was withdrawn late in 2007.
2007: The historic Chant family farmhouse on Coopertown Road was slated for demolition.
October 5, 2007: The Historic Preservation Advisory Board celebrated the 150th anniversary of the first Delanco Post Office. The celebration covered four days of activities. A historic marker was placed on the original post office at Dobbins General Store at 400 Poplar Street. The property is owned by Tom & Carol Hildenbrand.
November 2007: The historic riverfront gazebo on the 500 block of Delaware Avenue was demolished. It had been originally constructed about 1870 when Alexander Wood owned the property. It had undergone a major renovation since then. The structure had become seriously undermined by the river and was a safety hazard.
Originally prepared for the Delanco History Board of 2005 by Peter Fritz. Board members at the time included Jay Cohen, Chairperson; Jackie DiCarlo; Peter Fritz; Carol Hildenbrand; Ron Naylor; Alan Sorkowitz; David Truncer. Revised as of Feb. 2, 2008..
Please follow to "The Delanco Story: It's Past and Present", to read an eBook on the history of Delanco Township, NJ.
Click here to visit the Delanco History Board webpage.