Are You on the Path of the First Railway?
Many historians say that the horse-drawn railway with wooden rails, laid out by Thomas Leiper in 1809, was the first commercial railway in America. It went from his stone quarries on Crum Creek to a boat landing on Ridley Creek. Stone was then loaded onto barges, taken down to the Delaware River, and shipped up and down from Trenton to Cape May. It was used for 20 years, not just temporarily; that is how it gets its distinction.
There is a state historic marker on Bullens Lane where the railway crossed, and we’ve known that the railway went through today’s Governor Sproul Estates. Now Pierre Lacombe, a New Jersey geological historian, has mapped out a more precise route than was known before. He will give an illustrated talk on Sunday, October 20, at 2 p.m. at the Helen Kate Furness Library in Wallingford. Come learn whether it went through your back yard!
About Pierre Lacombe
Recently retired from the U.S. Geological Survey, Pierre Lacombe lives in Florence Township with his wife Kathy. During his 40-year career as a geologist, he has published extensively on groundwater supplies of New Jersey and other geologic issues. During his retirement he continues field investigations of the local geology and its impact and influence on NJ communities.