The History of Goodrich Seafood and Oyster House
The Goodrich family now spans 9 generations in this great little city. Goodrich Seafood was started about 1910 by brothers Jeff and Clarence Goodrich and did not initially include a restaurant. These Brothers were sons of Axson Quarterman and Ann Cleopatra Goodrich and had successfully operated the business until the retirement in the mid 1950s. At this time the business continues under the supervision of Jeff's son Broward Goodrich.
The business originally consisted of two buildings, a wholesale retail seafood house and blue crab processing facility. Both buildings were constructed on pilings over the water approximately 300 feet to the south of the present location. (The old pilings are still visible.) Both buildings were built of cypress wood because of its resistance to rot when exposed to a constant damp/wet atmosphere.
The wholesale/Retail seafood house was completely destroyed by fire in the late 30's. The theory was that one of the fishermen had left a jug of kerosene on the floor of a wooden inboard commercial launch which was though the jug, making the perfect magnifying glass which started a fire on the launch. No one was personally injured in the fire but the boat and building were destroyed. The building was soon rebuilt.
The Wholesale/Retail Seafood house was the southernmost facility and the number of employees varied according to the fishing season. There could be as few or as many as thirty at any given time. The crab house employed 10 to 15 people, mostly women who 'picked' the crab meat after the crabs were steamed in a large coal/wood fired pressure steamer. Independent crabbers caught the crabs and sold them to the Goodrich brothers crab house. The crab house simply fell from its support pilings into the water one day. A witness, Bo Johnson, said it looked like it fell in Slow Motion. About 1969, the state regulations for the handling of seafood products changed drastically. Wooden floors were no longer allowed in a seafood house., Stainless steel tables and non-porous equipment were required for handling seafood, indoor plumbing, not installed in the original facility, was a must as well as an 'insect/Rodent' free environment.