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HomeLocal ResourcesHaddam Historical SocietyOn the Road with the Haddam Historical Society: Maynard’s Fish House

On the Road with the Haddam Historical Society: Maynard’s Fish House

Submitted by Elizabeth Malloy, Executive Director

Maynard’s Fish House

Long-time Higganum resident William A. Maynard (1884-1960) was a successful entrepreneur in many different concerns including real estate, building construction, retail and most importantly shad. In the 1930s he built this small square building along the Middlesex Turnpike adjacent to his gas station at 213 Saybrook Road. The building, according to a Hartford Courant article, was known as the Fish House and was one of Haddam’s renowned Shad Shacks (the other being Spencer’s Haddam Shad Shack). An avid shad fisherman himself, Maynard sold locally caught shad during the season which ran from April 1 to the middle of June. The family also shipped shad to Fulton Fish Market in New York City. In 1956 Maynard and his wife, Clementine moved out to Candlewood Hill and brought the “fish house” with them. According to Granddaughter, Charlene Maynard Dewey it was loaded up on a flatbed and driven over local roads. Just two years later, the Maynard’s moved back to Saybrook Road and brought the building back with them, but locating it across the street from the original location.

Today the building serves as the Haddam Shad Museum. The museum, founded by Dr. Joseph Zaientz, focuses on the importance of the Shad fishing industry to Haddam and the lower Connecticut River Valley. Dr. Zaientz has collected many unique artifacts related to this once notable local industry and it is the only museum in the country solely devoted to shad fishing. CT Museum Quest was besotted by the museum, ConneCT Kids notes “this is the perfect place to visit, if you like small museums” and Atlas Obscura highly recommends “this nugget of maritime history.”

The Haddam Shad Museum will be open on Sundays from 10 am to 3 pm from April 4, 2021 to June 13, 2021.  Shad Museum directors, who are knowledgeable with both commercial and sport shad fishing will be available to answer questions. For safety reasons, appointments are required by calling 860-345-2400. Social distancing and masks are also required.

The museum is located at 212 Saybrook Road, Higganum, CT behind the gas station. Free admission. For additional information visit or

Sharon Challenger
Sharon Challenger
I am a professional Scenic Artist and have also worked as a Systems Analyst and Senior Programmer Analyst for the Travelers and Yale University. Education: Post University, Wesleyan University and Yale University School of Drama.

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