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.

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, and the clam battle was on. Ipswich hunters were afraid of losing their private hunting reserves. Ipswich farmers were afraid of losing their land.
Clammer photo by Coco McCabe The Clammer - It had to be a tough decision for Tom Pappas to hang up the clamming fork after a lifetime of use.
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 factory was at Brown Square in the building that now houses the Ipswich Ale Brewery.
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.
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.
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 on Plum Island, 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!
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.

Vintage photos

Categories: Stories

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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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