The Delaware River has long provided inspiration to Bucks County residents- whether it’s athletic, artistic, or just brunch with a fantastic view. For one Bucks County resident, though, it provided more than that; it inspired an invention that changed the course in history. Over two hundred years ago, in 1785, John Fitch was living in Warminster dreaming up a machine that would become the steam-powered boat.
A few weeks back, a new museum dedicated to the life and accomplishments of the inventor, John Fitch opened to the public. Born in Connecticut, John Fitch began the “transportation revolution” while living in Warminster where he invented the steamboat and the steam engine to propel it in 1785. Dedicated to coincide with the 300th Anniversary celebration of Warminster Township, the new museum is located on the grounds of Historic Craven Hall at Street and Newtown Roads.
The museum houses appropriate exhibits depicting John Fitch’s adventuresome life, and the steamboats he invented. One of the highlights of the museum is a six-foot, steam-operated model of the steamboat in which Fitch took passengers and freight between Philadelphia’s Arch Street wharf and Trenton, NJ in 1790. It was the world’s first commercial steamboat.
In addition, the Museum has graphic displays on Fitch’s accomplishments, a professional DVD on Fitch, and a large, 200-year old workbench with antique woodworking tools plus projects for visitors and especially children.
The John Fitch Steamboat Museum is open to the public the second Sunday of each month from noon to 3:00 p.m. Group tours will be given by reservation.