Bohannon site has long history of commercial use
For the better part of a century, the East River Boat Yard in Bohannon was a bustling commercial site, supporting the economic viability of Mathews County’s seafood and farming industries.
In the early 20th century, the Ward Grist Mill operated at the site. Fueled by water power from incoming and outgoing tides, the mill provided farmers in the area with a place to have their corn and other products ground for sale and personal use.
In the mid-1900s, Cuthbert & Hughes had a thriving oyster business at the East River landing site. The company harvested oysters from its own oyster beds, shucked them in an oyster house at the dock, and packed an average of 1,200 gallons of oysters a week for shipment.
More recently, the site saw another change of ownership, with Irwin Victor purchasing the property and using it as a boat yard, where watermen could repair their boats and Victor himself operated a marine surveying and salvage business.
In 2004, Mathews County purchased the East River Boat Yard from Victor in order to provide residents of the Mobjack peninsula with a public access point to the water and county residents in general with their own fishing pier.
Public access a priority
Providing public water access for residents on the Middle Peninsula was confirmed as a priority of local governments in 2003 when five counties and two towns on the Middle Peninsula ratified the Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority, created under a 2002 law enacted by the Virginia General Assembly. Localities that ratified the authority were the counties of Mathews, Gloucester, Essex, King and Queen, and King William, and the towns of West Point and Tappahannock.