BOWERS BEACH — “White Gold,” a documentary about Delaware’s oystering history and a present day story about a Delaware waterman’s struggle to bring a 1893 wooden schooner back to its former glory, will debut in a free public showing at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22 at Bowers Beach Fire Hall.
Wilmington filmmaker Michael Oates will introduce the documentary.
One hundred 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.
Yet today’s annual oyster harvest is limited to 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 it former glory.
This documentary was written, directed, and produced by Michael Oates, 302 Stories, Inc. of Wilmington.
It was funded by 302 Stories, Inc., the Delaware Humanities Forum, and Berkana Center for Media and Education.Founded in 2005, 302 Stories, Inc. is a digital media production company committed to telling the stories of Delaware’s people and places.
Michael Oates is the founder and president.