Friday, January 9, 2009

Norwalk Oyster Plant

Walking around a desolate waterfront in the dark of January is probably not the smartest thing to do. I kept thinking that at any moment, a Lee J Cobb type character was going to grab me by the collar and introduce me to the garbage dumpster. A more realistic danger rested in the fact that an unfamiliar, dark, cold, and empty waterfront leaves little margin for error. Stumbling, or slipping on the ice could result in disastrous consequences. As I downloaded these pictures, I gave myself a stern lecture about using a bit more common sense in my future waterfront explorations. My original intention was innocent enough. I was in South Norwalk for the day, and wanted to stop by the Norwalk Seaport Association before heading home. It was late in the day, but I thought it would be beneficial to locate the headquarters and find out their winter hours. Unfortunately I arrived at the Water Street location too late to find anyone present. I was surprised however, to discover that the headquarters are located on the top floor of the Tallmadge Brothers Shellfish Company. The building is no Hunts Point cinder block and aluminum warehouse, but rather a replica of the 19th century Radel Oyster House. The oyster industry on Long Island Sound has seen its share of rise and fall. Through it all, Tallmadge Brothers has been a fixture in Norwalk for over a century. I will visit again during safer hours, and hopefully learn more about the building, the oyster, and the boats in Norwalk. Until then, Tom Andersen's blog, This Sphere, as well as his book This Fine Piece Of Water, provides excellent insight into the history, and the present day concerns facing the oyster in Long Island Sound NORWALK OYSTER BOAT: WebAlbum Map


Ed said...

Thanks for the oyster boat photos. Fond memories. I grew up in Milford when a number of these traditional boats were still working. I've ended up in a career in aquaculture, mostly with shellfish, and am now in Baltimore. I still get back to Milford for their Oyster Festival each August, and have offered to build some model remote-controlled oyster boats to be used in this year's festival as part of the kid's educational area. - Ed Rhodes

bonnie said...

Those old oyster boats are great, aren't they? I took some pictures of those early in '08. I was actually hunting for the big yellow transatlantic rowboat but had to settle for a Laser regatta, those classic workboats & a kayak that made me laugh!

matthew houskeeper said...

Thanks for the kind words, folks.
I have never been to the Milford Oyster Festival. Maybe this year.