History Repeats Itself as Ice Jams the Delaware River

As last night’s (Jan. 9) Action News segment explained, the sight of recent ice jams on the Delaware brought out spectators with cameras to record the “once in a lifetime” event. However, for our friend William Hall this makes at least twice, as regular readers of our newsletter will recall (“Adrift on the Icy Delaware,” Gaslight News, January 2013).

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ice jam RYC pier 1920







This stereoview of ice shards clustered up over the pier by the Riverton Yacht Club in January 1920 comes from Elsie Waters. There is another view on a Feb. 2011 post along with a few other images from this rare collection.

Say, doesn’t that pumper in the Feb. 2011 post look like the same one depicted in the photo I bought on eBay, mentioned here Dec. 22? But, I am off topic.

March 8, 1934 Courier Post ice-bound RYC
March 8, 1934 Courier Post ice-bound RYC

Back to the ice conversation.

Here is mention of a close call for some ice skaters rescued from an ice floe in 1900 by Charles Biddle.

Mary Flanagan’s scrapbook continues to be a goldmine of source material for this blog. This newspaper clipping provides another example of the uncommon phenomenon.

Or is it?

Can any reader recall another occurrence of glacial blockage on the Delaware?

If you have an old one or a new one, please send us a scan or donate it for our archives.

River Ice, undated, from Bill & Nancy Hall's family photos
River Ice, undated

Please appreciate the view from a safe distance.

NYT, Feb 11, 1917 Charles Durbonard, possibly Durborow
NYT, Feb 11, 1917 Charles Durbonard, possibly Durborow

This is NOT to suggest that anyone should  actually risk going out on the ice.

Or in it, as evidenced by this clipping from a Feb. 11, 1917 New York Times showing Riverton’s Charles Durbonard taking his usual morning dip in the Delaware prior to going to his office in a Philadelphia bank.

I believe this is the same Charles Durborow referenced in news articles of the 1910s-1920s as being a champion long-distance swimmer associated with the Riverton Yacht Club.

Again, I digress. – John McCormick

Riverton in 3D Old Hat for This Esteemed Riverton Family

ice jam on Riverton Yacht Club pier. January 1920
Riverton Fire Co. 1925

I am privileged to know Mrs. Elsie Waters through our membership in the Historical Society. Among the many things which she has permitted the HSR the use of are some of her family’s treasured photographs. These stereoviews are just a few of the photos, stereoviews, and movies which chronicle the history and growth of Elsie’s many kin.

The Waters/Knight/Wright/Flach Family Tree has a considerable history, parts of which have been entangled in many of the significant chapters of Riverton’s saga.

July 4, 1924

I am motivated by the increased ability of our amped up website to display media, and so I am revisiting resources such as this in order to  bring them to a new audience. Jim Flach and his dad, Richard Flach, generously sent me these higher resolution files via Internet from Florida.

Click on each thumbnail for a hi-res file.

With some time on the PhotoShop bench, I was able to unwarp the curve in the cardboard mount.

I have wondered if one were to print these at actual size (3½” x 7″), how they would look in a stereoscope viewer. Somebody, let me know.

– John McCormick, Gaslight News Editor