Historic PHOTOS of City Point

Click link to view photo collection on Flickr:


 Some commentary re the Flickr photo collection (at link above) of John B. Crowther, Esq., Great Grandson of oysterman Thomas Thomas

Atty. Crowther: “[The c. 1950 photograph shown in his collection on Flickr] shows the Thomas Oyster Company at 50 South Water Street, City Point, as I best remember it (c. 1945-1956). The main building (in the foreground) is what the building–presently preserved at Mystic Seaport–looked like before its front and rear portions were removed to expose its original architectural configuration. The Thomas buildings, as I knew them, were all painted a deep, dark “lead” red.

The “opening room” was in the back half of the main building, with large workers’ benches running fully along the East (left) and West (right) walls, mounted at a slight angle (approx. 20 degrees), sloping toward the center of the room. Each worker’s position had a hole in the bench (approx. 8″ in diameter) where the empty shells were pushed/dropped through into heavy wicker baskets (which had rope handles) sitting on the floor. (The opened shells were saved and later “planted” on the oyster grounds.) The ceiling was shellacked 2″ tongue-in-groove. (I remember having to re-shellac it one summer: a real neck and shoulder breaker, and a week-long chore.) A large pot-bellied stove sat in the middle of the floor to provide heat for the entire building during cold days. The stove would glow a bright cherry red when it heated up and, as a kid, I enjoyed spitting on it and watching the spittle jump and dance around on the top. The front half of the building contained a large stainless steel colander (big enough for a grown person to stand in–probably 15′ circumference) in which the oyster meats were washed before they were packed. Also in the front half of the building, along the East side, were the company offices and a cold storeroom. After the company’s business of opening, cleaning and packing oyster meat was discontinued, my Grandfather, John W. Thomas operated a fresh seafood market in the front half of the building (c. 1958-1960).” [Editor’s note: this seafood company continues to operate in Branford, CT]

“The main building also had a second floor, which was used for storage. It was accessed via a wooden ladder (built onto the far wall of the “opening room”) and a trap door. It also had a hand-operated grinding stone where I would sharpen my knife and other tools.

The picture also shows the building’s extension (a large storeroom) behind the main [original] building, and the dock extending out beyond it, to which the 50′ Thomas boat (diesel dredge) “Breakwater” is moored. There were sliding doors on the side of the building extension (East side) where oysters were brought inside, carried in the same heavy wicker baskets mentioned above,  for opening (“shucking”) and packing.

To the left of the picture is the Thomas Oyster Company’s second dock with its large storage building located at the very end of it (which also was painted a deep dark “lead” red). Equipment, shovels, rope, dredges, etc. were stored in this building, as was a small “skipjack” sailboat owned by my uncle, Thomas G. Thomas. This dock often was used to store oyster shells which would be planted on the oyster grounds. Although not shown in this picture, it was at this dock where the company’s second and larger “flagship” boat “Gloria B” normally was moored. It also was a favorite place for City Point residents to fish when the “snapper blues” were running.

Not shown in this picture were the Wedmore Oyster Company buildings and docks located immediately to the left of the Thomas Oyster Co. Barely visible to the right is a portion of the Hulse & Dunbar dock.”

1940 Wemore home movie: excursion aboard the Catherine M. Wedmore

Click this link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nO6h7Bqvaso  Dewey Wedmore (1898-1983)[who was son of Charles & operated the Wedmore Oyster Co. business until its closure in the 1950s] appears at 0:30 with picnic basket. [He lived at the corner of Sixth & Hallock: the name “Wedmore” is still engraved on the foundation facing Hallock Ave.] “The Captain” [as Doug Kelsey called him] aka Chauncey aka Chan aka Chancillor Wedmore [son of Charles] appears next, with his hand resting on a piling. [He lived from 1880 to 1968, purchased 44 Howard Ave. as his home in 1911: site of the former Oyster Point aka City Point School.] Charles appears at 0:45 waving at the camera. The Catherine M. Wedmore [named after Charles’ wife] was built in 1924, and is now owned & operated by Norm Bloom & Sons, a shellfish co. in East Norwalk, CT. [Angelo DiChello, City Point resident & Chapel Street bridge tender, often opens the bridge for this boat when it travels to Bloom’s shop in New Haven.]

From the collection of Margaret Provost Kelly: S. Water St., 1950s:

More from Margaret Kelly

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