Today Ozark Fisheries owns and operates in addition to its Missouri facility, a production and shipping facility in Martinsville, Indiana, formerly known as Grassyfork Fisheries. Both locations produce goldfish and koi which are shipped to our customers throughout North America and Western Europe. We are continuing to find affordable shipping options for each of our clients and will exhaust all choices until the right match is found for you. All marketing is handled out of our Missouri headquarters.
Our Indiana facility, formally known as Grassyfork Fisheries, is one of the oldest and at one time the largest goldfish farms in the United States. In the early 1900s Eugene Shireman inherited a farm which was too wet to be of much use as a conventional farm. It was mostly swamp. Having several ponds already on the property, and being one to make opportunity of adversity, he decided to try his hand at raising goldfish. Thus in 1902, starting with two hundred fish he set out to start a goldfish hatchery. Goldfish are copious breeders. A female may lay as many as 75,000 eggs in a single season, of which about twenty five per cent (or approximately 18,750 ) will hatch and develop into saleable fish.Shireman found a ready market for these prolific fish. Department stores, pet shops, novelty stores, drug stores and florists all were buyers of his colorful product. As the operation showed continued success, Shireman bought up surrounding “worthless” farmland and expanded his operation. Continuing sales allowed Mr. Shireman to expand his operation to 1500 acres and 600 ponds, a success which gave Grassyfork the reputation of being the largest goldfish hatchery in the world.
The Grassyfork sales and display building was opened in May of 1936. It offered the public a chance to view and purchase a wide variety of fish and related items.The glass building on the front housed a rock garden, pool and fountain. The greenhouse (visible on the back) housed pools which were filled with a variety of aquatic plants. The Morgan County, IN Historic Preservation Society acquired and restored this community icon in Martinsville, IN once dubbed the “Goldfish Capital of the World.”
One of the most remembered things about Grassyfork is their neon “swimming goldfish” sign. On old 37, it was apparently visible for some distance after dark.
A 1934 Popular Science article featured our Ozark Indiana division, then called Grassyfork Fisheries. This article published in 1934 describes the labor intensive process to raise goldfish. While technology has changed, the science it takes to raise our fish is still an ever present challenge. To read this Popular Science article, click here.
Several post card views of Grassyfork Fisheries are shown below.