“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Downtown Hampton in Hampton, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

J.S. Darling & Son

Industrious New Yorker


— Explore Hampton 2010: From the Sea to the Stars —

J.S. Darling & Son Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, February 6, 2021
1. J.S. Darling & Son Marker
Just off the mouth of Hampton River is an extensive shoal known as Hampton Bar. There, a major industry that helped rebuild Hampton after the Civil War was literally spawned. James Sands Darling, an industrious New Yorker who arrived to make his fortune in 1866, was advised by old-timers that the bar was not a good place for planting and harvesting oysters, but he knew they were wrong. Beginning in 1882, J.S. Darling and Son Oyster Planters and Packers made Hampton Bar oysters famous. Darling and his son, Frank, built the company into the largest such operation in the world.

Everyday, a fleet of log canoes, some built here on the Hampton waterfront, sailed out to the bar where watermen tonged for oysters. Back at the plant, 160 shuckers scooped the meat from 200,000 bushels of oysters each year, packed them in metal quart and gallon containers, and shipped them off in iced tubs for dinner tables and restaurants in Baltimore, New York, and other cities. By 1938, the company was selling 50,000 gallons of oysters annually.

The empty shells were carried out of the plant on conveyor bets and dumped on giant piles that dominated the

J.S. Darling & Son and Crabtown Markers image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, February 6, 2021
2. J.S. Darling & Son and Crabtown Markers
Hampton waterfront in sight and odor. The mountains of oysters, a Hampton landmark for many years, reached more than four stories in height. Eventually, they were sold and crushed to build roads and driveways throughout the region or hauled out to Back River and dumped to form reefs upon which new oysters anchored and grew.

James Darling founded several other businesses, including a street railway company that acquired lands at Buckroe Beach and built a hotel there in 1897. The Buckroe Beach Hotel, with its large pavilion for dancing, spurred the beginnings of a popular resort. After his father's death in 1900, Frank Darling, along with business associates, spearheaded much of Hampton's later development.
Erected by Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AnimalsIndustry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels.
Location. 37° 1.48′ N, 76° 20.719′ W. Marker is in Downtown Hampton in Hampton, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of Old Hampton Lane and Settlers Landing Road (U.S. 60), on the right when traveling south on Old Hampton Lane. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 50 Old Hampton Ln, Hampton VA 23669, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Crabtown (here, next to this marker); The Magnolia Tree Inn

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(about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); McDowell's Inn (about 400 feet away); Hampton USOs (about 400 feet away); F.W. Woolworth Co. Building (about 400 feet away); Hampton Is Burned (about 400 feet away); Searching for Slabtown (about 500 feet away); The Southwest Corner (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Downtown Hampton.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 7, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 39 times since then. Last updated on February 7, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 7, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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Mar. 6, 2021