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Bivalve in Cumberland County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Delaware Bay and River

Port of Call

 

—Bivalve, New Jersey —

 
Delaware Bay and River Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 2, 2013
1. Delaware Bay and River Marker
Inscription. According to Megan Wren, director of the Bayshore Discovery Center, “Bivalve is a gritty, working waterfront (town) that a casual visitor might call ‘lost in time’. Someone who knows the place a little better would probably use words like defiant, independent, inventive, rebellious, stubborn, hard working and hard playing.”

This description might fit any number of small working waterfronts in the Mid-Atlantic region. But it especially fits this Delaware Bay community that is just far enough away from sprawling eastern-seaboard cities to maintain its identity.

The town of Bivalve is rooted in the salty wetlands at the mouth of the Maurice River. It owes it name and history to the rich oyster beds that thrive just under the surface of this coastal-estuary region.

In the mid-19th century, a railroad linked Bivalve to a network of trade routes as an “oyster planting”—transplanting seed oysters to privately cultivated bay bottom to grow, and harvesting mature oysters for transfer to markers. The harbor in Bivalve once teemed with oyster schooners, often six-deep off the piers.

Oyster production was hit hard by an oyster disease in the 1950s and again in the 1980s, as well as by government regulations, ecological changes, and lower prices being paid for oysters. As the oyster
Delaware Bay and River Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 2, 2013
2. Delaware Bay and River Marker
A photograph of the entrance to the wharves.
business has ebbed and flowed, those involved have changed with it. Oystermen have adapted their boats to surf-clamming, families have added fin-fishing and crabbing to their skills, and shuckers and boat crews have taken part-time jobs in restaurants or at the local prison or sand plant. The private marinas built here are owned and operated by local oyster companies, unlike in other Mid-Atlantic maritime communities, where outsiders have often stepped in to buy waterfront property for recreational use. As Megan Wren says, “Oystering remains the shared occupational experience that unites Bivalve residents.”

The Bayshore Discovery Project was founded in 1988 to “motivate people to take care of the environment, the history, and the culture of New Jersey’s bayshore region. “Their work includes restoration of the A.J. Meerwald, and oyster schooner built in 1928 and designated New Jersey’s official tall ship in 1988. Education programs on land and under sail serve as models for environmental preservation and stewardship. Local residents have become involved in environmental education as crew and as teachers, maintaining cultural continuity in New Jersey’s historic oyster capital.
 
Erected by Bayshore Discovery Project.
 
Location. 39° 13.986′ N,
Delaware Bay and River Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 2, 2013
3. Delaware Bay and River Marker
Photo of the wharves.
75° 1.968′ W. Marker is in Bivalve, New Jersey, in Cumberland County. Marker is on High Street. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2800 High Street, Port Norris NJ 08349, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Schooner AJ Meerwald (here, next to this marker); Bivalve Oyster Shipping Sheds (here, next to this marker); Ecology in the Watershed (here, next to this marker); Steps to Harvest Oysters and Bring to Market (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Steps to Harvest Oysters and Bring to Market (within shouting distance of this marker); Maurice River (within shouting distance of this marker); All Shapes, Sizes and Materials (approx. 2.6 miles away); A Guiding Light (approx. 2.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Bivalve.
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
Delaware Bay and River Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 2, 2013
4. Delaware Bay and River Marker
A photo of a sunken boat at the wharves
Delaware Bay and River Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 2, 2013
5. Delaware Bay and River Marker
A photo of the oyster schooner AJ Meerwald
Bivalve Center image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 2, 2013
6. Bivalve Center
Welcome to the historic Bivalve Shipping Sheds and Wharves, Delaware Bay Museum and Folklife Center, and homeport to New Jersey’s Tall Ship, the oyster schooner A. J. MEERWALD
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 272 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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