Lewis Lawrence

Location of Interview
Collection Name

Voices from the Working Waterfront Oral History Project


Working waterfronts are inherently entwined with the social and cultural aspects of their host communities; they are integral to how community members define themselves and set themselves apart from others. This project captures and preserves oral histories highlighting the importance of working waterfronts to the nation’s fisheries, economy, and coastal communities. 

Date of Interview

Shelley Chance

Biographical Sketch

Biographical Note:
Lewis “Lewie” Lawrence is the Executive Director of the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission in Saluda, Virginia.

Scope and Content Note:
Lewie Lawrence was interviewed to document the Middle Peninsual Planning District Commission’s experience in establishing the country’s first Public Access Authority. The Public Access Authority was established to identify, acquire and manage water access opportunities in the Middle Peninsula of Virginia. Mr. Lawrence discusses the history of public access in Virginia, the increasing conflicts among users, and the changing cultural that has accompanied new residents over recent years. He describes the establishment of the Public Access Authority and how their role has evolved from researching ownership of public roads to acquiring and managing over 1,000 acres of coastal properties for public access.

Please Note: The oral histories in this collection are protected by copyright and have been created for educational, research and personal use as described by the Fair Use Doctrine in the U.S. Copyright law. Please reach out  Voices@noaa.gov to let us know how these interviews are being used in your research, project, exhibit, etc.  The Voices staff can help provide other useful resources related to your inquiry. 

The NOAA mission is to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, to share that knowledge and information with others, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources. The Voices Oral History Archives offers public access to a wide range of accounts, including historical materials that are products of their particular times, and may contain offensive language or negative stereotypes.

Voices Oral History Archives does not verify the accuracy of materials submitted to us. The opinions expressed in the interviews are those of the interviewee only. The interviews here have been made available to the public only after the interviewer has confirmed that they have obtained consent.