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Reedville Fishermen's Museum

Reedville Fishermen's Museum

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By Elaine VonCannon, ABR, SRES, Associate Broker, Notary, Team Leader, Property Manager, Award Winning Agent

Reedville Fishermen's Museum is located in the unincorporated town of Reedville along the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Northumberland County, Virginia.

Reedville has a long heritage in the Atlantic menhaden fishing industry, and the museum dedicates itself to preserving the watermen's heritage and that of Reedville.

The museum has restored some of the oldest homes on the community's "Millionaire's Row", where wealthy factory owners and fishing boat captains once lived. The mansions are now on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum also has two vessels, the skipjack Claude W. Somers and the deck boat Elva C., which were entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

The story of Reedville, Virginia is linked to the commercial fishing industry that developed here in the late 19th century. In 1874 Elijah Reed transferred his menhaden fishing operation from Brooklin, Maine to the Chesapeake Bay. He purchased the land on Cockrell’s Creek that is now Reedville. The industry flourished, especially in the early part of the 20th century. Today Reedville is one of the major ports for the landing of commercial fish in the United States, second only to Kodiak, Alaska.

The town’s Main Street, a National Historic District, is a mile long and flanked by water. The larger homes along Main Street reflect the prosperity of the early menhaden captains and plant owners. Most of the houses in the Historic District have been carefully restored. Today, operating from Reedville, is a large, modern menhaden fishing fleet with 13 ocean-going vessels. There are three smaller menhaden boats and numerous boats and people engaged in pound-net fishing, crab potting and dredging, soft crab processing, clamming and oystering.

The museum is located on the banks of Cockrell’s Creek on land once owned by Captain Elijah Reed. TheWilliam Walker Housewas built in 1875 on land bought that year from Captain Reed. It was occupied by the family until it was purchased by the Greater Reedville Association in 1986. The Association, primarily through the work of volunteers, restored the house and opened it as the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum in 1988. In the spring of 1995 the home was refurbished and refurnished and now represents a waterman’s home at the turn of the previous century.

Open for tours, the museum also has historical information about the menhaden fishing industry and the history of Reedville. The museum closed in the winter and opens the end of March with new exhibits.

This is a nice outing to take and to stop by one of the local restaurants for a good meal! My husband and I have such fun on these types of outings.