Rotary Club of Fernandina Beach
Club 4360, District 6970

 

 

Charlie Corbett, New City Commissioner stops by to introduce himself and to give his plans for the City of Fernandina Beach! Click below for more details... 

Today’s Program

“Brief Historical Presentation and Q & A”

Charlie Corbett, new city commissioner

 

     “I’ve just been elected; I hope you don’t think I have a clue yet what is going on.” With that, Charlie Corbett announced he would be sharing with us a brief history of the Pogie Plant on the river at the north end of Fernandina Beach. Though abandoned, it was built in 1921 and is 90 years old this week.

     Charlie himself was born, raised and lived in Fernandina Beach. He borrows a slogan to identify himself, “Watch dog, not Lap dog.” In 1926 his dad moved here from Two Egg, FL, a bump in the Hwy 69 roadway running through Jackson County, and boasts that Lovedale and Old Parramore, FL are suburbs. Old Parramore is a true ghost town from the late 19th Century that thrived on the river.

     Your editor had to do a bit of Google work to put the pieces of Charlie’s story together, but it clicks on all cylinders. The Pogie Plant sits on Amelia River north of the downtown warf, beyond the mill, across the bridge at the north end of 14th Street. Pogie (also spelled pogy) and bunker are other names for menhaden, small, oily-fleshed forage fish that filter and eat microscopic plant life, and travel in large, loose schools. Like shrimp they were fished with net equipped boats. They would catch ‘em, fix ‘em and grind ‘em up, early on for fertilizer, later for chicken feed and eventually to acquire the oil to be used in making lipsticks, providing the “extra” sheen. Eventually the Menhaden Plant (another name for it) was abandoned. Principals with the plant were Jim Corbett, Thomas Corbett and Thomas Guess.

     Charlie then entertained questions about what he just shared, about himself, or the city. One of the questions regarding the abandoned property had to do with an apparent shrimp boat that was sunk in the river near the plant. Charlie reported that the boat has been taken care of, but it had belonged to Joseph A. “Smiley” Lee. He had bought the boat so he could be Captain Smiley Lee, but now he is again, just Smiley Lee.

     A summary of Charlie’s current way of relating to city matters would be, “If I can’t see how it will be paid for, not just for the first year of a loan, I don’t think we can be serious about it in the present economy.” When

addressing many of the specifics we have been reading and hearing about, he appears quick to acknowledge they are good ideas, but not until we can see our way all the way with them. He would not be in favor of acting on something and then kicking the can down the road.