Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Delaware County, Pennsylvania

Thomas Leiper Estate

a black and white photograph of the Thomas Leiper estate. It features a prominent porch, columed entryway, and twin chimneys.

One of Delaware County’s earliest major industrialists was Thomas Leiper (1745-1825), who built the first permanent railway in 1809 to haul building stones from his quarry on Crum Creek to a wharf on Ridley Creek where they could be loaded onto barges bound for Philadelphia. The three-quarter-mile horse-drawn railway operated until 1828 when Leiper’s son George (1786-1868) replaced it with a canal that operated until 1852.
(Library of Congress)

Library of Congress

One of Delaware County’s earliest major industrialists was Thomas Leiper (1745-1825), who built the first permanent railway in 1809 to haul building stones from his quarry on Crum Creek to a wharf on Ridley Creek where they could be loaded onto barges bound for Philadelphia. The three-quarter-mile horse-drawn railway operated until 1828 when Leiper’s son George (1786-1868) replaced it with a canal that operated until 1852.

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