Fish So Fine
In 1890, fish made the Chincoteague news. Islanders caught so many fin fish that a reporter claimed the take was never so large, or the "fish so fine."
Fish became so plentiful in Chincoteague markets that a local islander wrote in 1922 that he could buy more fish for 25 cents than he could catch all day fishing in the harbor. He had his pick of sturgeon, trout, halibut, spot, drum, perch, and flounder.
Not all fish from the waters around Chincoteague graced dinner tables. Watermen used some species for bait. Three fish factories processed menhaden into oil used in paint and soap, and used fish scraps to make fertilizer.
Fish So Foul
John Budning made his fortune off a fish too foul to eat. He built his "Kettle Factory" downind from most residents of Chincoteague. There, workers turned millions of menhaden, an oily, bony fish, into ingredients for paint, cosmetics, and fertilizer.
Hauling in nets filled with thousands of menhaden required backbreaking labor, Watermen often set the cadence of work with Chanties like "Fish Factory Hell."
Boats are Coming
Sun is Going Down
Tide is Turning Now
I Call Your Name Out Loud
Oh Baby, Come and Meet Me Down at the Factory
Where the Stray Cats Get their Fill
Come and Meet Me Down at the Factory
Fish Factory Hell
Fires are Coming Up
Fish is Cooking Down
Oil is Boiling Over
Smell of Money All Over Town,
In 1882, the newspaper Peninsula Enterprise reported a single day's catch at 31,000 large trout. Trout remained plentiful into the 20th century.
Smelly fish factories provided welcome income but made unwelcome neighbors.
Sport fishing remains popular.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Animals • Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 37° 56.097′ N, 75° 22.609′ W. Marker is in Chincoteague, Virginia, in Accomack County. Marker is on Main Street just west of Post Office Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4095 Main St, Chincoteague Island VA 23336, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Dollars from Decoys (a few steps from this marker); Chincoteague Timeline (a few steps from this marker); Bounty from the Sea (a few steps from this marker); Chincoteague's Front Door
Credits. This page was last revised on January 19, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 19, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 28 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on January 19, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.