Friday, July 23, 2010

Callis' Wharf

Last night the Chesapeake Bay Children and I went for a boat ride after supper. Chesapeake Bay Son navigated while I took pictures. Chesapeake Bay Daughter's head was on my shoulder. It was heaven on Earth.

These are shots of Callis' Wharf on Gwynns Island. As you're driving over the bridge it's on the right. For Blog Festers, it was within walking distance (preferably in cooler weather) of Saturday's beach cookout.

Not too long ago, the wharves in Mathews were bustling with activity. Steamboats transported goods, passengers and entertainment from Norfolk to Baltimore and points in between.

The following passage is from the book Mathews County Panorama, A Pictorial History of Mathews County 1791 - 1941, by the Mathews County Historical Society:

"The Piankatank at Callis' Wharf...a screw steamer, served twenty years on the overnight run from Baltimore to wharves in the northern Neck of Virginia and along the Piankatank River in the Middle Peninsula. She stopped at various Mathews wharves over the years ending her voyages at Freeport in Gloucester County where she berthed overnight before making the return trip."

"The packing house of Callis' Wharf ...built originally on oyster shells during the Civil War. The wharf was an important steamboat landing in the shelter of Milford Haven. It continues today as a center for the seafood industry."



Back in the '70s and '80s I hung out on the island in the summers. Back then many more men were working on the water, and the wharf was always bustling, though not nearly as busy as the days of the steamers.

My grandmother used to tell us stories about her and her friends driving from Gloucester to Mathews just to see the floating theaters. It was quite the social event.

I'd give almost anything to have been with my grandmother amidst all the excitement of the steamers. But tonight's boat ride with my children to this beautiful wharf was priceless.

14 comments:

foolery said...

Something about water towns -- every view is a painting. We have it on this coast, too, especially in the little fishing towns that struggle now. But it's an altogether different look from Virginia. So beautiful there.

Your children are both treasures.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

I can only imagine what it must have been like there back in the day. My own tiny hometown was once a busy railroad stop - it was always a farming community, but I think there was more going on then.

Love the photos, love your kids, love you!

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Nothing better than an after dinner boat ride!
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Ann Marie said...

We had Bayside and Sandbank down this way.. both taken out by storms many many many years ago. Then we had Owens and Son which happens to also be Davis Creek Marina now which also happened to have been owned by my Great Grandfather Henry Owens. (see where Daddy got his name??) Not to mention that the older Henry gave the younger Henry his first Hounddog.. another story for another day.

Daryl said...

Mathews is one of the most interesting beautiful places I have ever been ... and its a wonderful balance for my eye to see things not cement, glass, urban

Breezeway said...

Many hours spent fishing from that dock as a kid!! My parents used to let us ride bikes from the cottage and go to the store at the Wharf, then fish for a while. Amazing to think that we would be gone for hours, with no way of contacting us, and it was OK! Callis' will always be a favorite memory for me....

Trisha said...

It is somehow sad that the hustle and bustle is now gone from that warf. Life moves on and there are so things which are left behind which we wish weren't.

yogurt said...

Looks like a picturesque area. Always sad to wonder about careers and lifestyles lost with the passage of time.

dvilleoysters said...

Sounds like a great time

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Jill said...

Cool... a local spammer

big hair envy said...

So many memories, so little time...

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Lots of formerly bustling water towns have disappeared - same has happened to railroad towns. Makes you wonder if too much progress isn't a good thing when it's at the expense of history.

deborah said...

Have fun at the beach today! We love Virginia Beach, used to take the kids (when they were younger)there all the time!
We have rivers on 3 sides, but still don't consider us living on the water..weird, I know.

Mental P Mama said...

The CB Kidlets are home!!! Yay! Enjoy that awesome place you call home...we carry it in our memory banks all year long....