This rare antique postcard shows clam diggers using rakes to gather bushels of clams in Provincetown, Massachusetts on the tip of Cape Cod. Clam chowder, stuffed quahogs, and fried clams are some of the favorites visitors enjoy when they dine, as do the characters in the novel Remaining in Provincetown by S.N. Cook, at Sally’s Chowder Bowl (a fictitious place that may bring back memories). Quahogs, also known as cherry stones and little necks, along with steamers (soft-shell clams), sea clams, and razor clams were once exceedingly plentiful in Provincetown Harbor. They were an important source of food for the Indians and the purple portion of the quahog shells were used as a trading exchange referred to as wampum. The early American colonists took advantage of this easy to access food source and developed a taste for shellfish stews and chowders. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, shellfish provided sustenance when jobs were few and families were struggling to put food on the table. The result was a depleted shellfish population, overfished almost to extinction. The one exception is mussels, which live on rocks and benefitted from the construction of breakwaters. Today efforts are being made, with some success, to restore the shellfish population because their presence helps to filter the Bay’s water and maintain an ecological balance. Take note that the gathering of clams and oysters requires a license and is under strict regulation. There are, however, plenty of opportunities to go fishing. There are a number of boats that take off from Provincetown harbor. To see another vintage postcard, just posted, visit our new face book page and like it to be entered in the drawing to win a FREE copy of the new mystery coming out later this month. Thank you.
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Champion Provincetown Clam Digger – remaininginprovincetown