Schuylkill River: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Schuylkill River
The Schuylkill River, looking south toward the skyline of Philadelphia, through which the river flows.
Country USA
State Pennsylvania
Counties Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester, Berks, Schuylkill
 - left Little Schuylkill River, Perkiomen Creek
 - right Tulpehocken Creek, French Creek
Cities Philadelphia, Norristown, Pottstown, Reading
Source East Branch Schuylkill River
 - location Tuscarora, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, USA
 - elevation 1,540 ft (469 m)
 - coordinates 40°46′24″N 76°01′20″W / 40.77333°N 76.02222°W / 40.77333; -76.02222
Secondary source West Branch Schuylkill River
 - location Minersville, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, USA
 - elevation 1,140 ft (347 m)
 - coordinates 40°42′51″N 76°18′46″W / 40.71417°N 76.31278°W / 40.71417; -76.31278
Source confluence
 - location Schuylkill Haven, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, USA
 - elevation 520 ft (158 m)
 - coordinates 40°38′01″N 76°10′49″W / 40.63361°N 76.18028°W / 40.63361; -76.18028
Mouth Delaware River
 - location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
 - elevation ft (0 m)
 - coordinates 39°53′04″N 75°11′41″W / 39.88444°N 75.19472°W / 39.88444; -75.19472
Length 130 mi (209 km)
Basin 2,000 sq mi (5,180 km2)
Discharge for Philadelphia
 - average 4,650 cu ft/s (132 m3/s)
 - max 40,300 cu ft/s (1,141 m3/s)
 - min 995 cu ft/s (28 m3/s)
Discharge elsewhere (average)
 - Berne 1,120 cu ft/s (32 m3/s)
Schuylkill River watershed

The Schuylkill River, most often pronounced /ˈskuːkəl/ ("SKOO-kull"), is a river in the U.S. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is a designated Pennsylvania Scenic River.

The river is about 130 miles (209 km) long. Its watershed of about 2000 square miles (5,000 km²) lies entirely within the state of Pennsylvania. The source of its eastern branch is in the Appalachian Mountains at Tuscarora Springs, near Tamaqua in Schuylkill County. The West Branch starts near Minersville and joins the eastern branch at the town of Schuylkill Haven. The Tulpehocken Creek joins it at the western edge of Reading. Wissahickon Creek joins it in northwest Philadelphia. Other major tributaries include the Little Schuylkill River, Maiden Creek, Manatawny Creek, French Creek, and Perkiomen Creek. The Schuylkill joins the Delaware River, of which it is the largest tributary, at the site of the former Philadelphia Navy Yard, now the Philadelphia Naval Business Center, just northeast of Philadelphia International Airport.


Major towns

History and names

The Delaware Indians were the original settlers of the area around this river, which they called Ganshohawanee, meaning "rushing and roaring waters," or "Manaiunk".[1] The river was later given the Dutch name Schuylkill (pronounced [sχœylkɪl]) by its European discoverer, Arendt Corssen of the Dutch West India Company. One explanation given for this name is that it translates to "hidden river" and refers to the river's confluence with the Delaware River at League Island, which was nearly hidden by dense vegetation. Another explanation is that the name properly translates to "hideout creek".

Thomas Paine tried in vain to interest the citizens in funding an iron bridge over this river, before abandoning "pontifical works" on account of the French revolution.

Patriot papermaker Frederick Bicking owned a fishery on the river prior to the Revolution.

The Strawberry Mansion Bridge over the river at dusk.
The Fairmount Water Works on the Schuylkill River were once the source of Philadelphia's water supply and are now an attraction in Fairmount Park.

The restoration of the river was funded by money left for that purpose in Benjamin Franklin's will. [2]

Points of interest

The Schuylkill River winds through Philadelphia. Notable structures and facilities, from left to right: 30th Street Station, the Cira Centre, the Schuylkill Expressway and Amtrak train tracks forming part of the Northeast corridor, the Spring Garden Avenue bridge, Boathouse Row and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Transportation and recreation



The Schuylkill river valley was an important thoroughfare in the eras of canals and railroads. The river itself, the Schuylkill Navigation (canal), the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad (later the Reading Railroad), and the Pennsylvania Railroad were vital shipping conduits from the mid-19th century through the mid-20th century.

Rail freight still uses many of the same valley rights-of-way that the 19th-century railroads used. Passenger and commuter rail service is more limited. Today, the old railbed rights-of-way along the river between Philadelphia and Norristown contain SEPTA's R6 Norristown Regional Rail line (former Reading Railroad right-of-way) and the Schuylkill River Trail (former Pennsylvania Railroad right-of-way).

There are efforts to extend both rail and trail farther upriver than they currently reach. The Schuylkill River Trail continues upriver from Norristown to Valley Forge, and designers plan to extend it for scores of miles farther upriver. SEPTA Regional Rail service currently does not go farther upriver than Norristown. Visions of commuter rail service farther up the Schuylkill valley ("Schuylkill Valley Metro") have yet to become reality.

Roads associated with the river include the Schuylkill Expressway, which is I-76, the West Shore Bypass, or U.S. Route 422, (on the west bank), Kelly Drive (on the east bank, formerly called East River Drive), and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive (on the west bank, formerly called West River Drive).


The Schuylkill River Trail,[3] which generally follows the river bank, is a multi-use trail for walking, jogging, bicycling, rollerblading, and other outdoor activities. The trail presently runs from Philadelphia, through Manayunk to the village of Mont Clare, the latter are the locations of the last two remaining watered stretches of the Schuylkill Canal. There is also a section of trail starting at Pottstown and running upriver toward Reading. Plans are underway to complete the trail from the Delaware River to Reading.

The Schuylkill River is very popular with watersports enthusiasts. The Dad Vail Regatta, an annual rowing competition, is held on the river near Boathouse Row, as is the annual Bayada Regatta, featuring disabled rowers from all over the continent.

References in culture


The angler, artist, and author Ron P. Swegman has made the Schuylkill River a focal point of two essay collections, Philadelphia on the Fly (Frank Amato Publications, 2005 "[2]") and Small Fry: The Lure of the Little (The Whitefish Press, 2009 "[3]"). Both books describe the experience of fly fishing along the Philadelphia County stretch of the river in the Twenty-First century.

Beth Kephart published a series of poetic ruminations about the river in Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia's Schuylkill River [4] in 2007.

See also


  1. ^ Pennypacker, Samuel Whitaker (1872). Annals of Phoenixville and Its Vicinity: From the Settlement to the Year 1871. Phoenixville, PA: Bavis & Pennypacker, printers. pp. 5.  
  2. ^ "The Last Will and Testament of Benjamin Franklin". Retrieved 2008-05-31.  
  3. ^ [1]

External links


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