The Watermen of Back Creek

The Watermen of Back Creek (HM38V)

Location: Annapolis, MD 21403 Anne Arundel County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 58.147', W 76° 28.806'

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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.
HM NumberHM38V
Placed ByChesapeake Bay Gateways Network, Annapolis Maritime Museum, Four Rivers Garden Club
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 6th, 2014 at 2:29am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 371776 N 4314391
Decimal Degrees38.96911667, -76.48010000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 58.147', W 76° 28.806'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 58' 8.82" N, 76° 28' 48.36" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)410, 443, 703, 240, 301
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 501-599 Fourth St, Annapolis MD 21403, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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