Group helps preserve the history of Delmarva’s seafood packing industry

EAST NEW MARKET, Md. – People from all walks of life are doing everything they can to preserve the rich seafood canning history of Delmarva.

“It’s getting to the point where people don’t remember it anymore,” said Joe Secrist, a collector.

That is why on Sunday the Dorchester County Historical Society filled the inside of the East New Market Fire Department with canning memorabilia and more that represents such an important part of Delmarva’s history.

“That was just a big part of the economy of the Eastern Shore and the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Delaware also, at that time,” said Secrist.

Many of these collectors say the seafood industry is a huge part of their family history on the shore.

“My mother worked at George O. Powley as a crab picker and my father was a truck driver,” said Andy Holliday, a Dorchester County Historical Society member.

“He drove crab meat and oysters up to Baltimore and all on the Western Shore,” said Holliday.

Andy Holliday tells 47ABC these cans are remnants of what is left of the canning industry and that each design is unique.

“The old labels were so beautiful,” said Holliday, “The graphics on them were done so pretty and now everything is so generic.”

That is why many hope to push for more events like these so that the younger generations can keep this important piece of history alive for years to come.

“Maybe they will remember their parents or grandparents working there and trying to preserve some of the memorabilia that was leftover or left,” said Holliday.

Organizers say events like this also gives the community a chance to learn more about the history of watermen on the Eastern Shore.

Categories: Maryland