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Port Norris NJ

Port Norris, New Jersey, is a small town located where the Maurice River mets the Delaware Bay. Established in 1811, the town has a rich history as a major center for oysters. The Historical Society was created to preserve this history.

During the first half of the 20th century, Oyster Schooners were rafted up to seven deep at the wharves after a week of harvesting. Oystermen carted thousands of baskets of oysters a day from schooners to floats, from floats to scows (flat bottom boats from scows to wharves and finally from wharves to boxcars waiting on tracks just outside the sheds. As many as 127 boxcars a day hauled oysters from Bivalve to New York and from there to the rest of the country. Boxcars were loaded with ice at each end of the cars to preserve the oyster even out to Kansas City and points west. The original sheds were built by the Central Railroad in 1904 to accommodate the oystermen to get their harvests to market. Visit the Bayshore Center at Bivalve.

Also see Commercial Township Click Here.

Delaware Bay Watermen's Memorial
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Lots of excitement but little sportsmanship in oyster boat race
Reprinted with permission 6/12/18
Published 3:42 p.m. ET Nov. 17, 2016
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Ballad of the Oysterman
West Jersey Pioneer, January 20, 1866, Vol. XVIII, Number 933
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When oyster boats ruled Delaware Bay and
Port Norris was N.J.’s wealthiest town 

APRIL 3, 2017 — 5:00 AM EDT

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The Illustrated River
The Delaware River Blog by Hal Taylor
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Charles "Bud" Coursey - Oysterman
Charles "Bud" Coursey - Oysterman

Millville Daily (1980)
Read his story here, PDF File

Operation Oyster
A Look at the History of Oystering
Theme: Maritime History
Author: Christine R. Raabe, Education Consultant
See link for general background of Oystering. You are leaving our website, please come back.
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The Slow Struggle to Bring Back the Oyster
The New York Times
Published: June 12, 2005
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Bayshore Discovery Collection
Research the collections at the Bayshore Center at Bivalve.
Any uses must go through their process.
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Schooners on the Bay
A documentary about the wooden boats used to dredge for oysters under sail on Delaware Bay until World War Two, when they were refitted with engines. It follows two New Jersey schooners that were restored to sail for use as Windjammers to take tourists on excursions on Penobscot Bay in Maine. There are on camera interviews with the late oyster boat captain Fenton Anderson, local historian Donald H. Rolfs, and Windjammer captains Douglas J. Lee, Edward B. Glaser, and David Allen. It ends with a race between the two Windjammers to a folk song about a schooner race on Delaware Bay sung by Jim Albertson. This documentary was originally distributed by New Jersey Network and is no longer available.

Film by Produced by Louis J. Presti, David S. Cohen, Rita Moonsammy, Albert Rose Cinematographer: Henry L. Sayen, Louis J. Presti, Fred Ehmann Sound: Jeff Reisly Editing: James Walsh
Copyright: New Jersey Network Production 1984 29 minutes, Color
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