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White Gold:

Delaware's Oystering History

65 min   |   English   |  2012

Director: Michael Oates

Narrator: Don Wescott

Copyright: 2012

100 years ago, Leipsic, Little Creek, and Bowers Beach were among Delaware’s flourishing maritime communities, relying on huge harvests of Delaware Bay oysters, commonly called “white gold.” Stately wooden schooners plied Delaware Bay, dredging as many as 900,000 bushels annually. Stories abound of local captains lighting cigars with $100 bills and buying new Cadillacs every year.


Today’s annual oyster harvest is less than 15,000 bushels with oyster beds decimated by a succession of deadly diseases and all but one of the sailing schooners gone. Yet these Bayshore communities, and the commercial watermen who built them, somehow endure.

“White Gold” recounts Delaware’s past and present oyster industry, the attempts to revive it, and the efforts of one waterman to bring a wooden schooner back to its former glory.

This program was produced by Berkana, Center for Media and Education, Inc. and partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Humanities a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities and 302 Stories, Inc.

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