Monday, September 7, 2009

Haddam, Connecticut's sad sack shad shack

The mighty shad, pride of Connecticut

Spencer's -- Connecticut's last shad shack

Haddam, Connecticut is a beautiful small town along the eastern side of the Connecticut River. On Route 154, just up the road from the area's landmark Goodspeed Opera House, sits a curious dwelling amid all the finely kept wooded yards and expensive upper class homes: a dilapidated hut with "Spencer's Haddam Shad Shack" painted in big letters on three sides of it. According to the Haddam Historical Society's website, Spencer's has been a local landmark since 1930, and is open on a seasonal basis when the shad are running. Shad have played an important role in the community's history and Spencer's is Connecticut's only remaining Shad Shack.

Apparently shad are a big deal in Connecticut (although I grew up in the state and never knew it). A quick Google search shows tons of websites devoted to it, the largest of the herring family and a favorite Connecticut River sportfish. It's the state fish of Connecticut and Haddam even has a shad museum.

Which brings us back to our sad little shack in Haddam. In certain communities along the Connecticut River, the spring run of shad are cause for celebration. It was a staple and savior of the Connecticut colonists and at one time there were lots of shad shacks. Could Connecticut's last shad shack be sleeping with the fishes? It doesn't look too promising, but who knows... Connecticut Yankees are a feisty bunch and not ones to part with their shad traditions lightly. If Haddam's shad shack is shuttered, it could be a shattering experience. Sha-doobee.


modbetty said...

aw, that is a sad sack of a shad shack! Say that ten times fast :-)

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Sad sack shad shack,
Shad sad shack shad,
Saddam, shaddam, hack...
I give up!

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