Home > Transportation > Chester-Bridgeport Ferry
July 1, 1930 - February 1, 1974
|Toll booths at the
Chester Bridgeport Ferry - 1974
(Photo by Dr. Stan Smith, courtesy of Dave Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org)
|One of the last
Chester-Bridgeport Ferries, 1974
(Photo by Dr. Stan Smith, courtesy of Dave Smith, email@example.com)
the Chester-Bridgeport Ferries
Photo compliments of Mark Zubrzycki, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ferry & Commodore Barry Bridge Construction, April 1973
Three Chester-Bridgeport Ferry Photos compliments of
Chester-Bridgeport Ferry made its first crossings of the Delaware River on July 1, 1930
but was not formally dedicated by Chester Mayor Samuel Turner until July 9. The
ferry began operations with two boats, their crews and owners, from the Tacony-Palmyra
company which had ceased operations in Philadelphia in 1929 when replaced by the bridge of
that name. These first two were renamed the "Chester", with a capacity of
60 cars, and the "Bridgeport" with a capacity of 48. The
"Delaware", with a capacity of 75 vehicles was added in 1935, and the
"Lackawanna", a refitted old railroad ferry, was added in 1949. In that
same year the ferries were equipped with radar for safer crossings in fog and other
The crossing took about 6 minutes and was seen as a definite advantage over having to endure the congestion of Philadelphia traffic in order to cross one of the few bridges there to New Jersey. It greatly shortened the trip to the resort and agricultural areas of south Jersey and encouraged the growth of many local businesses on both shores. On opening day the fares were 75 cents for passenger cars or 50 cents for daily commuters, and 10 cents for walking passengers or 5 cents for commuters. On that day over 1000 cars plus several thousand passengers made the crossing both ways.
During the summer months the Chester-Bridgeport offered 24-hour service with boats docking on both shores as often as every 5 minutes. In winter, the boats still made the crossings regardless of weather.
Louis Kapelski, one of the first investors and for many years the ferry's general manager, foresaw and quite accurately predicted its demise. Although business was still good in 1956, he predicted that the ferry would be replaced by a bridge by 1975. Sure enough, the ferry made its last crossing and the Commodore Barry Bridge opened on February 1, 1974. Two of the ferries were immediately sold, the "Bridgeport" for the James River at Jamestown, VA, and the "Delaware" for use in the Gulf of Nicoya in Costa Rica.
|Accidents & other Unusual Events||In July 1950, the fully-loaded "Lackawanna" with 43 vehicles on board, ran aground on a mud bank on the New Jersey side of the river. Chief Engineer William Harsch had apparently collapsed but did not require any medical attention when he regained consciousness.|
Kapelski was also the owner of radio station WDRF, whose call letters stood for "Delaware River Ferry".
||Ward Perry Moser
"I attach herewith a high resolution JPEG file of a photograph I made of Chester-Bridgeport Ferry Captain Ward Perry Moser then 71 years old in his wheelhouse on January 29, 1974 – several days before operations ceased on February 1, 1974. I also possess an audio narrative* I made of the crossing and could transfer this to MP3 if you wish to have it.
P.S. I presented a copy of this photo to Capt. Moser at his home a few weeks after I made the photo."
Robert Bocchino, Haverford, PA
* Mr. Bocchino retains ownership of all submitted original visual and audio material and they are not to be used for commercial purposes without permission.
(Photo courtesy of Helen M. (Webber) Imburgia)
William A. Webber
"My father & his twin had to leave school, I think in the 11th grade, to go to work. Times were hard & money was needed at home, so they started out as deckhands when the ferry first opened. My father, Wm. A. Webber, went on to become a First Class Licensed Pilot of Bays, Sounds & Rivers. (A Captain.) This twin brother, Arthur J. Webber, became a ticket agent & then went on to be an accountant for Sun Oil. My father worked for the ferry until 15 Jun 1968. He tied up a ferry at 11:00 PM & on this way home had a heart attack at 10th & Highland Ave. He died on Sunday (Father's Day)16 Jun 1968. I have a picture of him, in the Pilot house, on one of the ferry boats."
Our thanks to Helen M. (Webber) Imburgia (HMWEBBER@aol.com) for this information added 4/16/2000
|Other Known Employees:||There are 3 employees working for Delaware river port authority who worked at Chester
Joseph Gallo revenue One port center Camden NJ.
James Kilpactrick Commodore Barry bridge Highway Dept
Alfred Fioravanti toll supervisor Commodore Barry bridge.
Dave Neall Toll retired 12-31-2003.
The last Ferry trip was on 2-1-1974 and we started with DRPA on 2-4-74.
My father, Guido [Fioravanti], and Jimmy’s grandfather, Perry Mosier, also worked at Ferry.
Thanks to Alfred Fioravanti
"Most of the deckhands on the ferries were full-time, but when I was a day cadet at
PMC (Pennsylvania Military College, now Widener University) in the 1950's, I worked the evening and night shifts during most of one year. Our most important job was to intercept the big dump trucks as they went down the bridge approach to the ferry.
"As a child, I frequently crossed the river on the Chester Bridgeport ferries to visit my grandparents . With great delight I crossed the Gulf of Nicoya on the very same ferry (the old "Delaware" I
believe) in the 1970´s (re-named the Chuchequero) in Costa Rica. To my dismay, I recently spotted "MY" ferry, which is no longer in service in Puntareans, a Pacific port of Costa Rica. It was sunk in the mud, and only a bit of the superstructure remains."
November 17, 2003:
Here is a family story about the Chester Ferry that has floated around our reunions for years. It was in much more simple times and I hope you can view the story more as an anecdote rather than as a cruelty to an animal story.
"Perry Moser was a Chester Ferry boat captain for many years. I believe he may have been the "senior " ferry boat captain. His grandson was a childhood friend and a classmate of mine. They both lived very close to us as we were growing up.
Sometimes we would find a way down to the ferry boat slips and wait for "Captain Moser's" ferry to pull into the dock. We would then pay as "walk-ons " and go aboard his ferry. Most of the time "Captain" Moser would see us and motion for all of us to come up to his wheelhouse on the top deck. Once we were away from the dock, "Captain Moser" would let one of us hold on to to the big spoked wheel and steer the ferry for a short while. He was always standing close by watching us.
Most of the time the ferry boat had a manned wheelhouse on each end. One person would steer the ferry across to New Jersey then the other person would steer it back
to Chester. ( At least that is how I remember it on our little trips with the
Captain.) We would go into the private cabin of the Captain and sit and rest with him as the ferry made the return trip. We would ride the ferry,
up on the top deck, back and forth for maybe 8 or 10 crossings, sometimes more."
If you have any information and or pictures that you would like to contribute about the history of the ferry, please forward it to email@example.com
© 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 John A. Bullock III.
This page last updated 01/23/07