The McNasby Oyster Building was an oyster packing plant built and owned by Jonathan McNasby.
The McNasby Story
Jonathan McNasby was an Irish machinist who immigrated to the United States. It was in America that he met his wife, Isabel, with whom he had four children – William Joseph McNasby, Kate Beene, Alice Lapson and Jennie McNasby. William Joseph McNasby would go on to become a furniture dealer living in Baltimore, and eventually began the McNasby Oyster Company in 1886, the same year his son, William Joseph McNasby Jr. was born. William McNasby Sr. had 9 other children with his wife Mary Elizabeth Brittner – Jennie Irene, Isabella Crowley, Robert Emmet, Edmund, Mary, Eulalia, Justus John, Richard V., and James Bernard. When William McNasby Jr. turned 18, in 1904, he joined his father’s business as an oyster packer. In 1909, William Joseph Sr. purchased 723 Second Street from Soloman and Maggie Snowden, and he opened the facility for business in 1918. A year later, in 1919, William Joseph Jr. purchased and Opened 505 West Exchange Street as a distribution center in Akron Ohio. Soon after, William Joseph Jr. moved to Akron, taking up residence at 227 Rhodes Avenue in Akron. Here, William Joseph Jr. Married to Pearl M. Sherbondy, an Akron Local. Later, in 1933, a hurricane damaged the Eastport facility, though it would eventually be repaired. Forty years later, in 1973, William Joseph Jr. gave the Eastport facility to his good friend John W. Turner and his wife, Mary Lou Turner. On February 13th, 1986, John Turner sold the business and the name to H.L.P. Incorporated, a partnership of three investors which included Jerome J. Parks and Herbet A Himelfarb. H.L.P Incorporated intended to tear down the Eastport Facility and replace it with a waterfront condo, but the city of Annapolis had recently established the Maritime Zoning District, which protected Maritime businesses from development pressure. The City of Annapolis eventually purchased the property from H.L.P. Incorporated. In 1990, the City renovates the building for use as a waterman’s seafood cooperative. This cooperative dissolved in 1994 as two private seafood processors attempt to run wholesale/retail businesses but fail.
Becoming the Maritime Museum
In 2001, the Eastport Historical Committee leases the property from the City for 50 years and changed its name to the Annapolis Maritime Museum, sub-leasing the seafood retail and takeout business to the owner of Davis’ Pub. Two years later, in 2003, Hurricane Isabel damages the McNasby Building and Barge House with Eight-foot tides. The Annapolis Maritime Museum operates out of offices at 222 Severn Avenue and conducts programs while raising funds and restructuring plans. In 2005, the Rivercrest Design Build renovates the Barge House as a pro-bono project. The Annapolis Maritime Museum used this tiny, 600 square foot building as a one-room schoolhouse for programs and events, and in 2008, Whiting-Turner completed renovations of the McNasby Building.
- McNasby owned four Oyster Plants, one in New Jersey, one in Virginia, and Two in Maryland.
- Oysters traveled to the distribution plant in Akron, Ohio by train and arrived within 17 hours.
- William Joseph McNasby Jr. began working for his father at the age of 18, after attending St. John's Military College.
- The McNasby business slogan was "As clean as your own kitchen"
- Harold McNasby put the company on the map when he flew a 50 pound box of haddock by Goodyear blimp from Akron, Ohio to Youngstown, 50 miles away.