Marcus Hook is a borough in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 2,397 at the 2010 census.[3] The current mayor is Gene Taylor. The borough calls itself "The Cornerstone of Pennsylvania". The 2005 film One Last Thing... was set and partially filmed in Marcus Hook.


The earliest inhabitants of Marcus Hook were the Lenape Indians. The Lenape had a major settlement in Marcus Hook which became a New Sweden trading post in the 1640s. Called "Chammassungh" or "Finland", it was on the west side of the Delaware River, between Marcus Hook Creek and Naamans Creek. The settlement was renamed "Marrites Hoeck" after the Dutch conquered the area in 1655.[4] The name is derived from the word Hook, meaning promontory, or point of land projecting into the water and Marcus, a corruption of the name of the Indian chief, Maarte who lived at the Hook.[5]

St. Martin's Church was founded in 1699 and opened for worship in 1702. It was founded by Walter Martin of Upper Chichester as an alternative place of worship and burial for non-Quakers.[6]

Marcus Hook became a prosperous community and market town and in 1708 was of equal prominence to nearby Chester, Pennsylvania, with each location having approximately 100 houses.[7]

In the early 1700's, Marcus Hook was a haven for pirates that plagued the lower Delaware River. The market at Marcus Hook provided the pirates a place to sell plundered goods and re-supply away from the authorities and custom officials in Philadelphia. Early maps of Marcus Hook show the current Second Street was originally named "Discord Lane", since it was the location of the pirates' revelry when they were in town.[8]

There is a local oral tradition that the Marcus Hook Plank House was once the home of the mistress of the pirate Blackbeard.[8][9]

By the mid-1700's, Marcus Hook became a major regional center for the building of wooden sailing ships and remained so until the late 19th century when larger tonnage ships became more popular than the sloops and schooners built in Marcus Hook.[8]

During the American Revolutionary War, two tiers of cheveaux-de-fris were placed across the Delaware River at Marcus Hook to provide a first line of defense of Philadelphia against the British naval forces.[10] Marcus Hook also served as a training center for the Pennsylvania militia. The Continental Army was stationed at Marcus Hook during the fall of 1777. The town was bombarded by British warships more than once and may be the reason why there are very few pre-Revolutionary houses in Marcus Hook.[11]

Marcus Hook served as a defensive post along the Delaware River during the War of 1812 with over 5,000 troops placed there.[11]

Later, Marcus Hook became a resort and amusement center.

The borough was officially incorporated on March 7, 1892. The convergence of rail, roads, a deepwater port, and the nation's growing thirst for petroleum gave rise to the refineries that became the borough's dominant industry.[12][13]


Marcus Hook is located along the southern border of Delaware County (and Pennsylvania) at 39°49′N 75°25′W / 39.817°N 75.417°W / 39.817; -75.417 (39.8182, -75.4155).[14] It is bordered to the northwest by Lower Chichester Township, including the community of Linwood, to the northeast by the borough of Trainer, to the southeast across the Delaware River by Gloucester County, New Jersey, and to the southwest by New Castle County, Delaware. The southern border of Marcus Hook is part of the Twelve-Mile Circle border between Pennsylvania and Delaware.

U.S. Route 13 (10th Street) is the main road through the borough, leading northeast 4 miles (6 km) to Chester, and southwest 9 miles (14 km) to Wilmington, Delaware. Pennsylvania Route 452 (Market Street) intersects US 13 in the center of the borough and leads north 1 mile (1.6 km) to Interstate 95 Exit 2, and 7 miles (11 km) to U.S. Route 1 west of Media.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Marcus Hook has a total area of 1.6 square miles (4.2 km2), of which 1.1 square miles (2.9 km2) is land and 0.50 square miles (1.3 km2), or 31.63%, is water.[3] The lowest point in the state of Pennsylvania is located on the Delaware River in Marcus Hook, where it flows out of Pennsylvania and into Delaware.

Educational system

Marcus Hook Elementary School

Marcus Hook is a part of Chichester School District. Children within the borough usually attend Marcus Hook Elementary School (Grades K-4), Chichester Middle School (Grades 5-8), or Chichester High School (Grades 9-12).


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 1,209
1910 1,573 30.1%
1920 5,324 238.5%
1930 4,867 −8.6%
1940 4,123 −15.3%
1950 3,843 −6.8%
1960 3,299 −14.2%
1970 3,041 −7.8%
1980 2,638 −13.3%
1990 2,546 −3.5%
2000 2,314 −9.1%
2010 2,397 3.6%
Est. 2016 2,389 [2] −0.3%

As of Census 2010, the racial makeup of the borough was 82.3% White, 13.6% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 3.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.0% of the population [1].

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 2,314 people, 919 households, and 565 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,055.7 people per square mile (790.7/km²). There were 1,025 housing units at an average density of 910.6 per square mile (350.2/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 91.44% White, 5.32% African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.69% from other races, and 1.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.77% of the population.

There were 919 households, out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.9% were married couples living together, 19.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.5% were non-families. 31.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.18.

In the borough the population was spread out, with 28.1% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 94.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.4 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $28,219, and the median income for a family was $36,083. Males had a median income of $31,620 versus $24,569 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $13,738. About 13.3% of families and 21.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.5% of those under age 18 and 16.5% of those age 65 or over.


Marcus Hook Station is a SEPTA train station on the Wilmington/Newark Line.

Notable people

Aerial view of the riverfront

Local community groups

The Plank House
The ship River Shining docked in Marcus Hook

In the interest of protecting and remembering nearly 400 years of history in Marcus Hook two groups were created. The Marcus Hook Preservation Society works with the community, local universities and archeology groups to fund archeological digs and set up educational programs. The Plankhouse Crew is a pirate reenactment group focusing on the Golden Age of Piracy and provides living history demonstrations as well as entertainment. The Plankhouse Crew was created around the Plankhouse which was believed to be the former home of a woman named Margaret, a mistress of the infamous pirate Blackbeard. They are also Marcus Hook's featured group for the annual Delaware River River Ramble celebration held in September.

Mayor sex scandal

In March 2013, then-Mayor James "Jay" Schiliro was charged with unlawful restraint, reckless endangerment, false imprisonment, official oppression, and furnishing alcohol to a minor after allegedly ordering a Marcus Hook police officer to bring a 20-year-old man to his house in a marked police vehicle, giving the man wine, and then offering 20 to 30 times to perform oral sex on him. When the man refused, Schiliro informed the man that he was "going to be a hostage", and fired a 9mm bullet into the wall.[18]

References in popular culture

The 2005 American comedy-drama film One Last Thing..., about a sixteen year old terminally ill boy hoping his final wish is granted, takes place in Marcus Hook.


  1. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Aug 13, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Marcus Hook borough, Pennsylvania". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  4. ^ "History". www.marcushookps.org. Retrieved 8 December 2017. 
  5. ^ Martin, John Hill (1877). Chester (and its Vicinity,) Delaware County, in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Wm. H. Pile & Sons. p. 67. Retrieved 9 January 2018. 
  6. ^ "St. Martins Church". www.chichesterhistory.org. Retrieved 8 December 2017. 
  7. ^ Ashmead, Henry Graham (1884). A History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co. p. 456. Retrieved 17 December 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c "The Plank House". www.marcushookps.org. Retrieved 17 December 2017. 
  9. ^ Ashmead, Henry Graham (1884). A History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co. pp. 457–458. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  10. ^ Martin, John Hill (1877). Chester (and Its Vicinity,) Delaware County, in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Wm. H. Pile & Sons. p. 175. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  11. ^ a b "The Plank House". www.marcushookps.org. Retrieved 31 December 2017. 
  12. ^ Myers, Albert Cook, ed. (1912). Narratives of Early Pennsylvania, West New Jersey and Delaware. 1630-1707. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. OCLC 650030300. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  13. ^ "THE BOROUGH OF MARCUS HOOK". March 5, 2010. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  14. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  15. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  17. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Resident Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 17 June 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  18. ^ Bender, William. "Marcus Hook Mayor arrested, seeking re-election". Philly.com. 

External links