• The snowy Delaware River

    Delaware Water Gap

    National Recreation Area NJ,PA

History & Culture

Old Mine Road marker

Marker on Old Mine Road NJ at the access road of Decker Ferry.

Though set aside as an area for outdoor recreation, the land of this park is rich in history. From 1983 through 2007, park rangers wrote of much of the history of the park for the park newsletter, Spanning the Gap. Select a category to further explore the history of this river valley.

The park encompasses significant Native American archeological sites (Collections), and several sites have been investigated.

A number of structures also remain from early Dutch settlement and the colonial contact period. The entire region was a frontier of the French & Indian War. Historic rural villages from the 18th and 19th centuries remain intact on the New Jersey side, and landscapes of past settlements are scattered throughout the park. (Places, Preservation)

In the 19th century, the village of Delaware Water Gap was a focus of the early resort industry fostered by the railroads. Even today the region is known for its vacation appeal. (Stories)

The proposal to dam the Delaware River near today's Smithfield Beach brought the region and its inhabitants into another era of American history -- the conservation and environmental movements of the 1960s and later. (People, Stories, CRM Magazine)

 

Did You Know?

Sketch of a dam with forests on the river banks.

... that the reservoir of the proposed Tocks Island Dam would have inundated 30 miles of the Delaware River and 30,000 acres of its river valley (now part of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.) The defeat of the dam was an early victory of the environmental movement in this country. More...