Sharing the history of a local river in stories and photographs

Erik Moore.. [File/The Princess Anne Independent News]

COURTHOUSE — Over the years, the North Landing River has served as a major transportation route and an important food source for local hunters and fishers. Its marshy ecosystem harbors a plethora of wildlife, and, perhaps down through the years, it has also provided shelter for bootleggers.  

Erik Moore, a Virginia Beach photographer and tour boat operator, will speak about the river’s history and ecosystem on Saturday, June 9, at the Whitehurst-Buffington House.

“I want to raise the appreciation,” Moore said, “and introduce people to the beauty of the North Landing River.”

Moore, who provides guided boat tours of North Landing River, Back Bay and the Currituck Sound, will also present a slide show of some of his own photographs, which include pictures of waterfowl, wild horses and stunning landscapes.

The 50-minute presentation will also include a brief history of the river, which was a part of the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canals and served as a link between the Elizabeth River and Currituck sounds. While the river is known primarily for recreational boating and fishing today, steamships and ferries once plied its waters.

The river’s freshwater ecosystem includes pocosins, swamps and marshes, and wetlands line much of its banks. Today, about 10,000 acres are protected by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Nature Conservancy.

Moore fell in love with the southern Virginia Beach watershed soon after he moved to Virginia Beach from Norway as a teenager.  He works as an instructional technology specialist at Landstown High School, but he has spent much of his spare time boating on and photographing local waterways.  

An amateur historian, Moore has also collected narratives about the river’s history from local residents, and he hopes to share these with attendees during the June 9 event.

“I want to talk about the history of the North Landing,” Moore said. “I’ll include the hunting, the fishing and the moonshining.” 

Moore will tell tales of colorful local legends, including boathouse owners and itinerant watermen who never held conventional jobs but earned a living fishing, hunting and brewing liquor.  “I will speak on how humans interact with the environment. Most people have no idea what’s out there on the river.”

The June 9 presentation is the first of a series of lectures at the historic house that will extend into the fall, said Phyllis Sawyer, president of the Whitehurst-Buffington Foundation. 

Jim Oglesby, local antique aficionado, will appraise antiques during an August 12 presentation. Attendees can bring items to have them evaluated or to learn more about them.

Sawyer also hopes to have a presentation and display of antique farm equipment and cars in the fall, and a quilt show will follow during the winter. Dates for the last two have not yet been established.

Moore’s June 9 presentations are scheduled for 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Two sessions are scheduled to allow more people to attend because space is limited, Sawyer said.

All presentations will be at the Whitehurst-Buffington House, 2441 North Landing Road. A $5 donation is suggested.

Visit for more information about the Whitehurst-Buffington House.

© Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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