Published on December 29 2020
The half-acre Pier 68, located at the end of Pier 70 Boulevard at the Delaware River, is a place to relax and enjoy the distinctive views of the city skyline and the river, a place to learn about the tidal ecology of the Delaware River and its watershed, and a place for recreational fishing and public gathering. Each new park built by DRWC is tailored specifically to its location and to public input from the neighborhood, in this case, Pennsport. While each park is unique in its objectives and designs, they all share cutting edge landscape architectural design. 
Pier 68 was designed by Studio Bryan Hanes. Other members of the design team include Digsau, Azavea, Anchor Consultants, Stantec, and TEND Landscape, Inc. Scungio-Borst provided construction management services. The park was built over a period of seven months by Bittenbender Construction and Hydro Marine Construction
Key design elements include:
  • An Entrance Deck with whimsical painted poles and repurposed maritime bollards to create a distinctive gateway for the pier. Located just off the Delaware River Trail, this space serves as a resting spot for those using the trail and as a place where shopping center visitors can quickly experience the Pier Park.
  • A Tree Canopy that begins to conceal the parking lot and traffic to the west.  These trees serve as a threshold, marking that visitors have crossed into a new environment. Along the southern edge of the pier, visitors will find a number of picnic tables which can be used for casual meals or table-top games.
  • The Aquatic Cut, 4.5’ deep cut into the pier surface allows water to filter up through the lower wood deck to reveal the semidiurnal tidal activity of the Delaware River. Filled with native, aquatic plants, this space will be a focal point for educators and curious visitors, creating a microcosm of the Delaware River’s pre-industrial ecology. 
  • The end of the pier features an Angled Lawn for lounging and sun-bathing. With proximity to the water and restored concrete paving, the Water-Side Walk and the open Pier Terminus supports a variety of events and activities such as recreational fishing or gathering to watch holiday fireworks. Special accommodations have been made for wheelchair access to prime fishing locations along the perimeter of the park.
  • Steel mooring bollards remain to remind us of the pier’s working past and have been painted a bright blue.
  • Custom-designed wave-shaped benches were inspired by the mustaches worn by Philadelphia sailors in the late 19th century, and were built in collaboration with the Challenge Program in Wilmington, Delaware, a nonprofit that teaches construction skills to at-risk youth. The benches are made out of ½” steel and cumaru wood chosen for resilience in marine applications and ease of maintenance. In addition, salvaged granite benches from Penn’s Landing are located at the pier terminus to provide seating areas while fishing. These benches are capped with cumaru slat seats and have specially bored holes to be used as fishing pole anchors. 

Pier 68 was once a W.J. McCahan raw sugar warehouse. To its south, Pier 70 was once the site of Baugh & Sons, importers and collectors of animal bones ground into fertilizer for nearby farms. Pier 67 to the north was Eugene Cathrall’s lumber mill. Moving forward, Pier 68 will be an integral part of the Southern Wetlands Park Project