The Gloucester Marine Terminal is located on the shores of the Delaware River in Gloucester City, Camden County, New Jersey. The Gloucester Marine Terminal is just over one-half nautical mile upriver (1.2 kilometers or .7 miles north-northeast) from the Port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 2010 US Census reported that almost 11.5 thousand people lived in Gloucester City.
Before Europeans arrived at the area that would become the Gloucester City, the Nanticoke people inhabited the future State of Delaware. A branch of the Lenape tribe (also known as the Delaware), they had a wide-ranging trading network in the Chesapeake Bay area.
When Captain John Smith arrived in 1608, the Nanticoke allied and traded beaver pelts with the British. As white settlers encroached on their lands, the Nanticoke got permission from the Iroquois Confederacy to move into their territory in 1744. They tribe eventually joined the Piscataway people under the jurisdiction of the League of the Iroquois.
The Nanticoke were neutral during the French and Indian Wars, and they were allies of the British during the American Revolution. In 1881, they reorganized under the name Nanticoke Indian Association, and the State of Delaware recognized their tribal status which continues to the present. Today, the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Indians are official recognized as a tribe by the State of New Jersey.
In the 17th Century, the Dutch had fortifications called Fort Nassau on the land that would be home to Gloucester City and the Gloucester Marine Terminal. The fort at the future Gloucester City was used for trade with the indigenous Susquehannock and Nanticoke Lennapi in beaver pelts.
In 1677, the town plat was laid out, and Gloucester Town was growing by 1698. In 1686, the first county courts were opened in Gloucester City. By 1708 when about Gloucester City contained about one hundred homes, it had lent its name to the County as well. It was for a time the seat of Gloucester County. But more than two centuries ago, the county seat was moved to Woodbury, starting an era of decline for Gloucester City. It became known as a fishing town and meeting place for Philadelphia clubs.
The Industrial Revolution brought life back to Gloucester City with the establishment of mills producing fabrics. The town developed as an industrial community, largely through the efforts of David Sands Brown who found ample unused land along the river for his factories. In 1845, the Washington Mills opened, creating jobs for town residents and income for the town. The following year, a community began to spring up around the mills, and a few years later, some 40% of the population worked in the mills. In 1870, the Gloucester Gingham Mills Company began producing cottonade and coarse ginghams. The Ancona Printing Company was formed in 1871 to produce fabric designs like the "Dolly Vardens." The designs were popular, and soon the mill employed three hundred people.
In 1864, an iron foundry was constructed in Gloucester City. The foundry cast shells for the United States, and it prospered until it was transferred to the Gloucester Iron-Works Company in 1871. The Gloucester Terra-Cotta Works was a major employer by 1883, producing terra cotta pipe.
During the 1890s, Gloucester City was popular for its racetrack and "The Beachfront," the biggest amusement center on the East Coast at the time. The race track operated from 1890 until 1893.
In 1869 an act of the Legislature authorized the Gloucester City Council to issue bonds to the amount of twenty thousand dollars, for the purpose of building a city hall. The New Jersey Legislature incorporated Gloucester City in 1868. The city expanded through annexations in 1925 and 1927.