On the Delaware River

We’re back on the water again this week but this time we have a larger boat and a larger body of water. Being that the photographer John B. Capewell lived in Westville, New Jersey, I think it’s safe to assume that he shot this 5″ x 7″ glass negative on the banks of the Delaware River.

When I was first examining the negative, I assumed that the background on the left featured some industrial structures or dock-work. On closer examination, it sort of looks like a bridge. I’m hoping that somebody with a better grasp of the region’s history will enlighten us all.

If you click on the pictures, you should get a slightly enlarged version. Have a look!

On the other side of the photo is the wider Delaware with some ships and what is probably Camden, NJ in the distance.

Here is the entire glass negative:

As with all of the photographs in the Capewell Collection, I placed the 5″ x 7″ glass negative on a lightbox and shot them with a digital camera locked down on a tripod. The “processing” was done digitally on a Mac using Adobe Photoshop.

The Capewell Glass Negative Collection

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3 Responses to On the Delaware River

  1. Paul Zdepski says:

    my brother has done a ton of industrial-archeologic research for various clients (land owner / businesses) of that area, including the shipyards on the NJ side. i’ll shoot him a link to get his opinion on the structures.

  2. Joe Williams says:


  3. Jerseyman says:


    I disagree with the information that Bill Hangley Jr. supplied on this image. There is no doubt that the structures on the Pennsylvania shore are coal docks, but they are not the ones the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad constructed. Rather, these docks stood at Greenwich Point (formerly Gloucester Point) and belonged to the Pennsylvania Railroad. The vessel located mid-river was a very important steamer to the fisheries up and down the Delaware. This is an image of the United States Fish Commission steamer FISH HAWK, constructed in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1879. She was a floating shad hatchery and provided new fry fish for the commercial fisheries that lined the New Jersey shore of the Delaware. The FISH HAWK measured 146’8″ long, had a breadth of 27 feet, and a draw of 11 feet. Her gross tonnage was 441 and her net tonnage 206. She was well known along the Delaware and you should be able to find additional information about her on the internet.

    Best regards,

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