Shucking clams on the Ipswich River circa 1900Stories

The Ipswich clam

Ipswich is known as the home of the fried clam, although the claim has long been disputed by the town of Essex. The mud in the salt marshes along the Ipswich, Eagle, Essex and Parker Rivers is what gives our clams their wonderful taste. Ipswich was also home to Soffron Bros which produced clam strips for Howard Johnsons restaurants.

The green crab is a threat to the Great Salt Marsh Green crabs in the salt marsh - Recipe For Disaster is a six minute video about the explosion of European Green Crabs in the Great Salt Marsh. The mission of GreenCrab.org is to develop markets and promote consumption of green crabs to mitigate their invasive impact.
Photos from Clamtown - This collection of photos by Coco McCabe is a celebration of Ipswich clammers, a mostly unseen corps of workers whose grit she deeply admires.
Soffron Brothers Ipswich Clams - Soffron Brothers were the exclusive suppliers of clams to the Howard Johnson chain for 32 years, which featured Ipswich Fried Clams on the menu. The four brothers, Tom, George, Pete and Steve, were the children of Greek immigrants who came to work at the Ipswich mills. Their Ipswich factor was at Brown Square in the building that now houses the Ipswich Ale Brewery.
Adrift on a Haystack legend Rowley Adrift on a Haystack, December 1786 - In a northeasterly storm in December, 1786 Samuel Pulsifer and Samuel Elwell of Rowley were digging clams, got caught in the storm, and took refuge in a stack of salt hay for the night. In the morning they found they had been set afloat!
Clamming on Cape Ann Clamming on Cape Ann - Shep Means hosts the show On The Waterfront at Cape Ann TV. On Episode 1, he goes digging for soft shell clams.
Discovery of native American shell heap on Treadwell’s Island, 1882 - In1882, a shell heap on the shore of Treadwell's Island was observed to contain nearly two quarts of human bones, broken into short pieces.
Joppa Flats, Newburyport - In the late 19th Century, clam shacks proliferated along a stretch of the Merrimack River in Newburyport known as Joppa Flats, providing clams to the Boston area. Photos in this slideshow were provided by Laurie Jarvis Short. Visit her Joppa Flats page on Facebook.
Battle of clammers over the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Clam Battle! (Life Magazine, July 16, 1945) - The government had taken over the lands for a Wildlife Refuge. The clam battle was on. Arguments were almost as thick as Ipswich clams. Ipswich hunters were afraid of losing their private hunting reserves. Ipswich farmers were afraid of losing their land.
The Clammer - It had to be a tough decision for Tom Pappas to hang up the clamming fork after a lifetime of use.

Vintage photos

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1 reply »

  1. Thanks to Chubby Woodman for frying the first clam! My Grampy Harvey Graham was a clam digger in Ipswich.

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