Home Local News Taming the Indian River Inlet: A continuing challenge

Taming the Indian River Inlet: A continuing challenge

by DrewLUD

The Indian River Inlet has a mind of its own. Over the years, the waterway would fill with sand and then reopen whenever it pleased. Sometimes, the tides and currents would reopen the waterway in the same location. Other times, the forces of nature would create a new channel a short distance away.

Often appearing calm, without a ripple on its surface, the Indian River Inlet could turn violent and erode everything in its path. Nothing, it seemed, could tame the Indian River Inlet.

At the dawn of the 20th century, the inlet filled with sand, and several hundred farmers armed themselves with shovels and attacked the silt that blocked the inlet. For two days, the men assaulted the muck and created a shallow channel that allowed some water to flow from the bay to the ocean; but the wet sand on the new inlet’s banks slid back into the watery ditch.

Construction progresses on the north side as Deldot and DNREC officials, along with Delware Gov. Jack Markell held a Dec. 16 2013, news conference and tour of the redevelopment of the Indian River Inlet Parking and Camping area's, now that bridge construction is done.

When the shovel brigade returned for a second attempt, they dug a wider waterway; but it, too, silted closed quickly. The inlet remained little more than a wet spot in the sand crossed by a low wooden bridge.

In 1928, former governor John G. Townsend Jr. was determined to reopen the clogged Indian River Inlet. Working on a limited budget, Townsend persuaded the Hercules Powder Company to donate a ton of dynamite for the project. After the explosives had been buried in the sand, everyone took cover, and at four o’clock on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 3, 1928, Townsend threw the switch.

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Source: GANNETT Syndication Service