Connecticut marina owner preserves historic oyster barge

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A Connecticut marina owner wants to sell her property, but not before she finds a safe haven for the historic oyster barge that has long been a fixture at the site.

Lisa Fitch, who owns Fair Haven Marina in New Haven, hopes to sell “the old barge” for only $1 in the name of historic preservation.

The genuine late-1800s oyster barge is possibly the last known example in the country. It was built in New York City as a kind of floating salesroom for the oysters that were delivered right up to the barge’s back door.

By the end of the year, Fitch told the New Haven Independent, she hopes to sell the barge to Kenneth Karl, of nearby Terryville, a preservationist whose aim is to lift the building onto a supporting barge and restore it there to its original look, a working oyster barge of the kind that lined the Hudson River.

Fitch said her price is only $1 because in Karl she found someone who shares her preservation dream. He has set up a website whose mission is to save “the last remaining New York City oyster barge.”

After basic restoration, Fitch said she’d like to see the barge live permanently at the Mystic Seaport museum.

“The whole community [is] indebted to her,” John Herzan, of the New Haven Preservation Trust, said of Fitch.

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