Origin of the Name SchuylkillReturn to Historical Articles
The word "Schuylkill" is of Dutch origin.
History has it that the first European to voyage up the Schuylkill was a man named Arendt Corssen of the Dutch East Indies Company. The river itself wasn't easy to find, for the bulrushes were in bloom and masked the narrow opening where the Schuylkill finally empties into the Delaware River. Probably in honor of the river's clever disguise, this new waterway was called the Skokihl, which means Hidden Creek.
The Unami tribe of the Lenni Lenapes was the first known group of humans to settle along the Schuylkill, a river they called Ganshowahanna, which means "falling waters." Manayunk, they also called it, which translates into "where we drink."
One of the early bridges to span the Schuylkill River was this frame structure, shown as it appeared in a magazine of the early 1830's. The steeple of the Trinity Luthern Church appears in the background.
Two ferries operated on the Schuylkill River from an early date. One served the crude highway which led west to Sinking Spring. The other served the road which led southwest to Lancaster and York.