Days of Yore
as recounted by

Bill Day


Ferry History
Ferry History In the teens and twenties the shoreline along the Delaware River was different that it is now. On both shores of the river were slips for ferry boats, whereas now there are bridge approaches.

The most popular ferry service was probably the one run by the Pennsylvania Railroad from Federal Street in Camden to Market Street in Philadelphia. Clearly seen from the Camden Terminal were Van Scivers, Campbell Soup, Esterbrook Pen and Victor Talking Machine Company. The Pennsylvania Company also operated a ferry from the foot of Vine Street, Camden to Vine Street, Philadelphia, which was popular with the truckers. This one went out of business when the Delaware River Bridge opened on July 1,1926. Its slips were directly under the bridge approach.

Another Pennsylvania ferry ran from Shackamaxon Street, Kensington, in Philadelphia, to slips in North Camden that made access easy to the River road which runs through Cramer Hill in east Camden and up to Burlington. This was popular with baseball fans with autos who were going to Connie Mack Stadium on Lehigh Avenue. It was much easier than having to go through the center of Philadelphia to the ball park.

The Reading Railroad trains ended t the ferry at Kaighns Point in Camden, where Kaighns Avenue ends at the river. The ferry deposited its fares in Philadelphia at Chestnut Street. It was used by the truckers and draymen, as they could reach west Philadelphia with a minimum f traffic.

Ferry pedestrians at Chestnut Street could climb a long flight of stairs to reach the elevated train platform which held an advantage over the steep hill to contend with at the foot of Market Street.

A ferry company, for a short time, had a route from Gloucester to South Street, but it was unsuccessful.  An attempt was made to sell it as an excursion ride but failed as well.

In the early twenties a ferry ran from Palmyra to Tacony which was successful until the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge was built, costing motorist five cents a crossing.

A ferry from Burlington to Bristol existed until a bridge supplanted it..

In the 1920¹s a ferry was established from Bridgeport, New Jersey to Chester Pennsylvania, but a bridge built across the river put it out of business. Farther down the river at Pennsgrove, a ferry ran across to Wilmington, Delaware. It operated even after the Pennsville to New Castle Ferry was opened, but it was discontinued during World War II. The one to New Castle ran until the bridge at Deepwater was built.

Some of the ferry boats used on the various runs were side-wheeler, but most of the boats had screw propellers.

Many children of the day thought that the ferry boats carrying the names of towns such as the Haddonfield, Millville, Vineland and Camden, meant that was where they were going. Reminiscing with Ben Jasper, made much of this column possible. Ben is a 1929 graduate of Haddonfield High School. Homepage
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