About 300 miles long and draining parts of four states, the Delaware River is the longest undammed river east of the Mississippi. Seventeen million people, or about six percent of the U.S. population, rely on the Delaware River system for water, yet the Delaware River Basin makes up less than one-half of one percent of the continental U.S.

The river certainly cuts a water trail through American history. William Penn signed a treaty with the Indians on its banks. Washington crossed its ice-choked waters during the American Revolution. Thousands of Confederate soldiers were imprisoned on Pea Patch Island, just down river of New Castle, Delaware, during the Civil War. And in 1915, the world's largest shipyard was built on Hog Island, offshore of Philadelphia, to meet the war demand.

In a 1931 Supreme Court ruling about the sharing of the Delaware's waters, justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, "A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure." Tomorrow night, I'll tell you about a celebration of the Delaware River that kicks off later this week.

Pledge | TV12 | 91FM | Education | Community | Underwriting | Fresh Air | Membership

Listen Live! | WHYY Store | About WHYY | Contact Us | WHYY Home