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DECOYS

Bernard Peabody Holland was an avid duck hunter. He used the open cupola on the roof as an observatory for wildfowl on the lakes behind his house. Very few are aware that wildfowling was the first form of economic tourism for Virginia Beach, and the economic engine that saved the town. Farmers who were unable to plant and harvest in the winter looked for ways to support their families. They quickly learned that hunting wildfowl and shipping the meat to points North created cash flow for them to support their families in the winter; this led to the development of marketing hunting.

At the time, wooden decoys were used by market hunters to attract waterfowl birds for hunting. The farmers became so efficient with the hunting that they almost sent ducks to extinction. In 1914, the Federal Government stepped in with the Migratory Bird Act and made market hunting illegal. The wood decoys were of no real value until the 1960s when they became an accepted form of folk art and highly collectible.

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