The Port of Delaware City is a small town at the east end of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. The Port of Delaware City is about nine nautical miles downriver from Wilmington (16 kilometers or 10 miles by air) and a little over 30 nautical miles downriver from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (54 kilometers or 34 miles by air). The Port of Delaware City is a small town that is rich with many natural and historic resources that attract tourists. The 2010 US Census reported a population of just under 1700 people in the Port of Delaware City.
In 1801, New Jersey's Newbold family purchased a bit of land and planned to build a town that would compete with Philadelphia as a commercial center and river port. Calling the future Port of Delaware City Newbold's Landing, the arrival of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal in 1829 boosted the town's position as a shipping center.
From the 1840s to the 1860s, the Port of Delaware City became famous as the base of a "peach boom." Major Philip Reybold had more than 110 thousand peach trees, and millions of peaches were shipped to ports from Baltimore to New York City through the Major's Wharf in the Port of Delaware City.
The Port of Delaware City also had a healthy fishing industry, containing fish processing plants that exported primarily herring, sturgeon, and shad. Sturgeon roe was exported to Russia and Germany, where it was marketed as caviar. The marshes surrounding the Port of Delaware City also provided a living for residents who hunted and trapped muskrat.
In addition to these stronger economic bases, the Port of Delaware City had a grist mill, a carriage shop, a blacksmith shop, as well as factories that produced sheet metal, chicken incubators, and mincemeat. By the 1870s, many of these businesses operated in the area around the railroad station and the Delaware and Pennsylvania Railroad when it began service to the Port of Delaware City.
The Port of Delaware City has been through several phases of growth followed by decline. Today, it is a prosperous city with both thriving industry and a substantial tourism industry.
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