St. Michaels in Talbot County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Bugeyes and Oystering
In the 1800s, the once-slow harvest of oysters in the Chesapeake Bay exploded. New technology like railroads and food preservation allowed oysters to reach new markets. To meet the growing national demand for this cold-weather fishery, larger vessels and more efficient harvesting tools were necessary.
Dredges were introduced from New England. The heavy iron frame had large teeth that raked through the oyster beds, harvesting many oysters in one pass. Chesapeake boat-builders created a new vessel powerful enough to pull the heavy dredges—an over-sized version of the log canoe. These bugeyes had a shallow draft and low profile to make pulling dredges onboard easy. Their wide decks accommodated large hauls of oysters.
Bugeyes were the preferred dredging vessel in the Chesapeake for 20 years at the end of the 1800s. However, as stands of the large timber needed to build these hulls began to shrink at the turn of the century, a less-expensive oystering vessel made of sawn lumber—the skipjack—replaced the bugeye.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Animals Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 38° 47.237′ N, 76° 13.199′ W. Marker is in St. Michaels, Maryland, in Talbot County. Marker can be reached from Mill Street just east of Burns Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 213 North Talbot Street, Saint Michaels MD 21663, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Edna E. Lockwood (here, next to this marker); Restoration (here, next to this marker); Bugeye Design (here, next to this marker); Skipjack Centerboard (a few steps from this marker); Hooper Straight Light's Twin (a few steps from this marker); For Whom the Bell Tolls (a few steps from this marker); A Mighty Pull (within shouting distance of this marker); Lost Overboard (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Michaels.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 10, 2023. It was originally submitted on August 25, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 93 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 25, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.