The Ferryboat Business On Our Delaware River by Frank Dale

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This book deals with the earliest commercial crossings on the Delaware River between the point where tides ceased at Trenton to the beginning of the Delaware River in New York State. The earliest commercial crossings were by ferryboats and were important enough to require government agency supervision under the British government in those early days. When the Revolutionary War resulted in the United States government control of things, the British regulatory policy of ferries was continued unchanged, effectively.

The author of this book, Frank T. Dale, was born and raised on the east side of the Delaware River in New Jersey, but be regularly visited grandparents on the Pennsylvania side of the river. One or two ferries were still in operation in the very early 20th Century but the Dale’s favorite crossing was on the old wooden covered bridge that existed between Columbia, New Jersey and Portland, Pennsylvania, until it was swept away in the 1955 flood. But many old-timers in those days who lived along the river recalled the ferry operation in their childhood. The inexpensive ferry never operated in floods and survived for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, the increase in auto traffic required the replacement of these ferries by bridges. The author got much of his ferry history from earlier writings but also from memories of river citizens who bad crossed by ferry. The existence of a ferry in the old days and its growing business, resulted in an increase settlement at the ferry site and eventually resulted in the replacement by bridges at the same location. But ferry crossing was a safer and more attractive trip.

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