The U. S. Iron Landing Pier, Near Lewes, Delaware

A. Stierle
1877 Scientific American  
The Delaware Breakwater Harbor, situated at the mouth of the Delaware Bav, and near Cape Henlopen and the town of Lewes, is weH known as a great harbor of refuge. In 1873 alone, 17,490 vessels found shelter bere, mostly from the storms of the Atlantic eoast; a number for whieh the area of the harbor was at times whoUy inadequate, and of whieh, fifty years ago, the constructors of the works of tbis artilicial roadstead had no eonception. Sinee the develop ment of the petroleum and grain trade
more » ... and grain trade with Europe, this harbor bas also beeome a stopping plaee, or eaU station, for ing upon cast iron foundation-serews-until now the only work of its kind in the Uni ted States. Already during the early time of the eonstruetion of the breakwater-a work forming a long artificial sea wall of rough heavy stones on tbe open or north·east side of tbe harbor. and commeneed in 18m until eompleted, after irreg. ular intervals, in 1869-the Uni ted States government was awarc of the necessity of a wharf for the then vastly increas ing shipping of tbe harbor. A pier of eon siderablE' magni tude was eonsequently built, about forty years ago, by the late General R Delalield, U. B. Engineer Corps; but the pier, built as it was upon wooden piles, after it was discov ered that the causes tcnding to its dcstruetion could only bc avoided at an enormous cost. was permitted to go to ruin: the ravages of the teredo navaliB/ the alm ost annually oecur-harbor, to be built, generally, upon stone piles, and conform· ing in plan to the outline of the letter T. The stone piles, or piers, were to rest upon iron serew-piles. In 1864, Lieut. -Col. R Brewerton and Capt. F. E. Prime, of tbe Engineer Corps under a resolution passed by the Senate of the Unitecf States, reported two pIans, witli esti · mates of piers. to be buHt at tbe same plaee. Their first project was similar in many respects to the one propo�ed by Col. Newton; their second project was a plan of an iron pier, to rest either upon hollow jron piles, from four to six feet in diameter, sunk by atmospheric pressure and filled with concrete; or upon solid iron screw'piles, six inches in diameter, and braeed by three·ineh bars. Congress was slow in aeting upon the projects submitted. The Junction and Breakwater Railroad had meanwhile S, I t ' >/ the Site and Reaso s "or lJeciding po an L I Suceessive surveys, made Rubsequently to the eOIls�ructi� ' I1 ' poseJ (0 the aeeumul�ted force of large vessels lr' i�g · �l�ng . · e ec wn 0 '-, . n J' U n ron of tbe breakwater, sbowed a general sboaling of tbe barbor ; side and riding against it witb the ron of a modemte sea Pier. i tbey also indieated a proportlOnally less lilling up in its i Stone villars of moderate dimensions, buHt in horizonta: The law limited the pier to be construeted only so far as eastern part, where a depth of 22 feet at low tide could be: courses and resting upon a substructure of iron or other the nature of the material was concerned; whereas the' reacbed, with a pier 1,800 feet long. Tbe selection of the � material, are liable to be aisturbed by such an enorrr;,ous exaet location, and the general plan, was left entirely with site was finally approved by a board of engineer officers and i mass in motion, while the cross dimensions of the stone the officer who was to design and take eharge of the work, by the Chief uf Engineers, a counter·movement made at the I work ure still so largc, and the inlerspaees so small, rela· subjeet to the approval of the Chief of Engineers. same time, and led by the Junetion and Breakwater Rail' l tively, that tloating iee w!ll not pass through, but will accu· In all the previously submitted projects, which are men. road, who had the privilege by law to extend their track mulate agains1. the pier·head and form neIds of large extent. tioned above, from 9 to 14 feet of water was eonsidered over the new pier, and by othcrs of the vicinity, havin � for For the,e rea,ons, a long, nano" pier·head is propo,ed, and suffieiently deep enough for all vessels Iikely to resort to the its objeet the ereetion of thc pier in thc western part ot the \ iron /8 prcjfrrcd ((8 tlw IIWf"I·t'd of the pier, in piles ham'ng nc pier as a landing.plaee. But Lieut. ·Col . J. D. Kurtz, Corps harbor, haviug failed. joint OT lwri,ontlll plane I�r separation /1'0111 t op (Q bottom, the of Engineers, U. S. A., the sueeessful designer and eon·
doi:10.1038/scientificamerican05191877-1142supp fatcat:d7tvshinnbgv3lnne23qw3e7si