Snapshot: Fish Display, 2014

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Snapshot: Fish Display, 2014

by Richard Knox Robinson
Southern Cultures, Vol. 27, No. 1: Human/Nature

Reedville, Virginia

The plastic-draped wooden structure in Fish Display welcomes you to Reedville, Virginia. Vastly out of proportion to its surroundings, it celebrates the role commercial fishing has played in “The Town Fish Built.” As the town’s unofficial symbol, it is just one of the vernacular structures that dot the region, taking pride of place among clocks, cows, crabs, and fireworks. Probably intended for tourists taking the ferry to Tangier Island, the giant fish competes for attention with a diverse array of tourist attractions, including George Washington’s birthplace just up the road. The tourist trade in these coastal towns has a long history of its own, with abandoned motels and gas stations themselves marking this past.