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Photo of the Week


"How shall we know it is us without our past?"
- John Steinbeck

by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Head Librarian

Old Oyster Packing House and Dock, New Suffolk. (From the Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives. Image Copyright © Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved.)

The oyster packing house burned down in 1980, but before that time it was home to the Standard Oyster Company at New Suffolk, a subsidiary of the Andrew Radel Oyster Company, planters and wholesale shippers of Robbins Island Oysters.

According to an informational brochure published by the company in 1935 (also within our collection), in just a few hours a crew of fourteen men on a steamboat was capable of catching and unloading 3,000 bushels of oysters a day from the Great Peconic Bay. The oysters were harvested with a dredge or mesh basket dropped overboard and dragged over the oyster beds for 100 yards to catch the oysters. After the dredge was emptied onto the boat, it would be lowered for another haul into the deep salty oyster beds of the bay. The oysters were then  taken to the packing house, cleaned, assorted for size, and packed into barrels for same-day shipping. "That's one reason they taste so good!"

Suggested Reading: Robbins Island Oysters, New Suffolk, Long Island, by Standard Oyster Company, Sole Producers of Robbins Island Oysters, 1935.


The Suffolk County Historical Society’s PHOTO OF THE WEEK Series is created by head research librarian Wendy Polhemus-Annibell using historic primary source materials from our local history library’s extensive archives. To subscribe, visit our website or send an email request to Wendy at librarian@schs-museum.org 

Interested in seeing more historical documents from the Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society? Spend an afternoon at our Local History Research Library perusing our extensive collections. We're open Weds. - Sat., 12:30 - 4:30 PM.

To view our Photo of the Week archives, visit our website at www.SuffolkCountyHistoricalSociety.org.



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The Suffolk County Historical Society, founded in 1886, collects and preserves the rich history of Suffolk County and beyond. We offer a history museum, art galleries, a research library and archives, and a multitude of exhibits, programs, and educational lectures and workshops year-round. Our unique collections reflect more than three centuries of Long Island history. Click here to learn about Member Benefits!


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