During the 1920s, the houses on this street belonged to African-American families. Most of the men living here worked on the water, launching often home-built boats from their back yards. They harvested oysters from September to April, and crabs in the summer.
Hand-tonging for oysters was a tough way to make a living. Lyle Smith, who grew up here, went out with his grandfather just once: "I was culling oysters, trying to keep my hands warm, and when my fingers got cold, I said, 'This is the first and the last.' I've never been out on an oyster boat since."
With time, the economic and cultural climate of this Eastport neighborhood has changed. Wooden boat building and oystering are no longer a way of life.
Text with upper-right photo: Charles Thompson (right) and his family built workboats and pleasure boats here.
Text with left photo: Oystermen use long-shafted tongs to harvest oysters. Once piled on the "culling tray" in the middle of the boat, undersized oysters were "culled," or tossed back in the water to replenish the oyster reefs.