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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

< Back to Oral History project: Bowens Island Restaurant


Fred Wichmann

Bowens Island Restaurant

Fred Wichmann was born in 1930 at the Cape Romaine Light Station near McClellanville, South Carolina. His father was the lighthouse keeper. Fred has the rivers, marshes, and tides in his blood. An avid sailor, he can be found out on the water often. And it was a boat that connected him to Bowens Island. There used to be a small railway on the island, which people would use to haul their boats onto land; sometime in the 1980s, Fred used it to bring up his 45-foot Herreshoff Ketch. He spent three months on Bowens Island, making repairs to the boat’s hull and getting to know the islanders, including Jimmy and May Bowen and their restaurant. He became good friends with May’s grandson, Robert Barber. Today, the boat railway is a rusting pile of metal, but Fred’s fondness for Bowens Island hasn’t changed a bit.

Date of interview:
2007-01-18 00:00

Amy Evans


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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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