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Tinicum Township Historical Society local history collection


Held at: Tinicum Township Historical Society [Contact Us]P.O. Box 115, Essington, PA, 19029

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Tinicum Township Historical Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

"The area now known as the Township of Tinicum in Delaware County Pennsylvania was originally inhabited by the Lenni-Lenape Indians. The name 'Lenni-Lenape' loosely interpreted in their Algonquian language meant the 'real people' or 'the original people.'

"The Township is located in the southeast portion of the state and is approximately five square miles bordered by the Delaware River, Darby Creek, and what was Bow creek and the back channel around Hog Island.

"In 1643 the Swedes under the leadership of Johan Printz [(whose likeness is portrayed on the Tinicum Township seal)] made Tinicum the Capital of the New Sweden Colony. Governor Printz ruled for ten years and then returned to Sweden. Leadership was then taken over by Governor Rising who was in control until the Dutch conquered the Swedes in 1655. [Soon after, the English gained power over the area. King Charles II granted the land to William Penn in 1681.]

"In 1780 Tinicum became a Township in the State of Pennsylvania. The petition contained twenty-three signers.

"[Construction of the building and grounds of 'The Lazaretto,' an immigrant quarantine station, began in 1799 along the shore of the Delaware River. The station opened in the spring of 1801 and was in operation until 1895.] The building and ground then became a recreation area. In 1915 it became the Philadelphia Seaplane Base and During World War I it was used by the Army for aviation training. The property was purchased by the Township in 2005. The Lazaretto building has been mothballed for future restoration. The portion of the property along 2nd Street in Essington is now the home of the Tinicum Township Fire Company, Station 48. The Township formerly had two fire companies, Essington and Lester, but a merger of the two companies [in 2007] brought about the construction of the new fire station...

"Tinicum went on to be an industrial area with the Westinghouse Electric Company and Lester Piano Works being the primary sources of employment for Tinicum and the surrounding communities for many years. Although both of these businesses have since closed, the properties which they occupied now have numerous smaller businesses that still employ many local residents."


Quoted text from: Tinicum Township Historical Society. "Our History." Accessed October 21, 2013.

This collection includes a wide variety of materials relating to the schools, churches, businesses, clubs and other organizations, individuals and families, buildings, and other local history topics for Tinicum Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. It is largely made up of pamphlets and other printed materials, ephemera, newspaper clippings (largely from the Delaware County Daily Times), newsletters from various organizations, narrative histories and academic articles, and photocopies and transcriptions of primary-source documents. There is also a large quantity of photographs, depicting local buildings and streets, industrial scenes, school classes, members of various organizations, and other subjects. Many blueprints, architectural drawings, and maps are also in the collection. It features several blueprints of the world's first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus, parts of which were produced locally at Westinghouse Electric Company. Four or five oral histories on VHS (produced in the mid 1990s) and one locally-produced documentary on Lazaretto are also available. There are several historic site structure and archaeology reports, including one focused on the Lazaretto Quarantine Station.

This collection also includes a large amount of copied materials donated by the Neumann College library, including photocopies of probate files (Concord Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania) and microfilm of wills, taxes, and other records from Delaware and surrounding counties.

Some Tinicum Township Historical Society records, such as newsletters, correspondence, and financial documents, are mixed in with the materials in this collection.

Materials collected at various times from various sources by the Tinicum Township Historical Society.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Tinicum Township Historical Society directly for more information.

Tinicum Township Historical Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Faith Charlton through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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