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HandWiki. Stadt Huys Site. Encyclopedia. Available online: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/36872 (accessed on 20 April 2024).
HandWiki. Stadt Huys Site. Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/36872. Accessed April 20, 2024.
HandWiki. "Stadt Huys Site" Encyclopedia, https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/36872 (accessed April 20, 2024).
HandWiki. (2022, November 28). Stadt Huys Site. In Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/36872
HandWiki. "Stadt Huys Site." Encyclopedia. Web. 28 November, 2022.
Stadt Huys Site
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The Stadt Huys (an old Dutch spelling, meaning city hall) was the very first city hall in New York City built in 17th-century during Dutch settlement (New Amsterdam). It stopped function in 1679 due to safety. It is located at the 71 Pearl Street today. The Stadt Huys block archaeology project was the first large scale archaeological excavation in New York City in 1979-1980. At the time it was excavated, it was one of the most expensive and most productive projects of urban archeology undertaken in an American city. A lot of logistical procedures for urban archaeology had to be developed as the project evolved. Most of these procedures have become a model for performing large-scale excavations in the city.

urban archaeology large scale archaeology

1. History

1.1. Site

The Stadt Huys site consisted of land on three blocks, defined by Pearl, Broad and South William Street, and extended to the east across Counties Ally (a Dutch word) when it was Dutch New Amsterdam.

1.2. History of the Stadt Huys

In 1642, the Dutch West India Company built a typical 17th-century Dutch style building constructed as a City tavern named the Stadt Herbergh. In 1653, it was converted into the first City Hall. As one of the largest public buildings in the city in the 17th-century, The Stadt Huys became the center of governmental and political life in the Colony and continued functioning after the British conquered New Amsterdam in 1664. The Stadt Huys stopped functioning as the City Hall in 1679 because it was unsafe to use anymore. It stood for 20 years longer with the bad condition and was finally demolished in 1699.[1]

1.3. History of the King’s House

The King's House, (also named the Lovelace Tavern now) was built in 1670 by New York's second English Governor, Francis Lovelace (c. 1621–1675). The King's House was right next door to the Stadt Huys. It served as the city hall temporary after the Stadt Huys was no longer in use until the new city hall at the corner of Wall and Nassau Streets was built in 1703.

2. Excavations

2.1. Reasons for the Excavations

The Stadt Huys Block was one of the few blocks remaining in New York City where the remains of the Dutch occupation in New York might still exist, those could solve the mystery of the colony's life in the New Amsterdam. And as the center of the city at the time, The Stadt Huys Block represents one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in the city and home of many early prominent New Yorkers. People started to live away from this business center in the nineteenth century.[2]

2.2. Importance

The Stadt Huys Block archaeology project has historical significance since it was the first archaeological project done in New York City under the auspices of the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the City Environmental Quality Review process, The excavation noted the enormous enthusiasm for such information in New York City, showed that New Yorkers welcome the opportunity to share in the archaeological exploration of the city's historic past and paved the way for the future archaeology projects in the city. The archaeological value on the block is also tremendous, the value of the actual material recovered, both artifacts and architectural remains all show the importance of the Stadt Huys Block excavations.[3]

2.3. Timeline

  • The project started in 1979

A new building was about to go up at 85 Broad Street (now the Goldman Sachs headquarters) whose foundation would destroy whatever remained of the buried history of the block. After consulting maps and documents from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, they concluded that the site, located in the oldest part of the city, had 300 years of secrets to divulge.

  • August 1979

A certificate of Appropriateness for the archaeological excavation was granted

Phase one, a sensitivity study consisting of documentary research and preliminary subsurfacing boring

  • October 1979 - Second phase

October 1st, the removal of the black-top surface of the parking lot and clear the debris from the demolition of the most recent structures

October 9th, the full crew began and worked until December 31st, 1979.

Beginning of fieldwork and laboratory work as soon as the project started.

  • December 1979

Dollar Savings Bank planned to transfer the land to Galbreath - Ruffin

  • January 1980

Mitigation phase until mid-July 1980 for more time, money and chance to excavate Counties Alley and Stone Street

  • July 1980 - August 1980

Construction activities on the Counties Alley and Stone Street

Fieldwork ended on August 29th

  • March 1981

Laboratory work ends

  • 1987

The Project is submitted to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in December 1987

2.4. Funding

The Dollar Savings Bank, which owned the property provide $155,000 at the beginning Then Con Edison and Durst Foundation joined

2.5. Participants

Director, Nan Rothschild, the directors of the dig, a professor of anthropology at Hunter College and New York University

Director, Diana Rockman, a doctoral candidate Eugene Boesch

With contributions by: Diane Dallal, Joseph Diamond, Mary Dieryckx, Meta F. Janowitz, Josselyn F. Moore, Kate Morgan Arnold Pickman, and Nancy Stehling[2]

2.6. Findings

The archaeologists found more than four tons of artifacts in the site included bricks and stones, glass, turkey bones, watermelon seeds, coffee beans, oyster shells, buttons, coins, and a wide array of pottery like a bright yellow cooking pot (recognized as a pitcher when excavated), vivid blue and white delftware plates, tiles and apothecary jars.

In the tavern built by Francis Lovelace, there was plenty of 17-century broken clay tobacco pipes, wine-bottle fragments; and a storage barrel brimming with empty wine and rum bottles and one perfect, unbroken clay pipe in the cellar in basement.[3]

3. Current Status

The new building at 85 Broad Street, where the Stadt Huys once stood, was finished before the excavation report was completed. But the developers left some evidence of the site, they displayed remains of King's Tavern and a well from 18th century.

Around the building, there is a public plaza with information about the Stadt Huys, the Tavern and the archaeology project. The brass circular plaque on the sidewalk of the plaza was a map of the original street plan of New Amsterdam and there are colored outlines for the Stadt Huys and the King's House as the reminder of where it was.[1]

References

  1. Cantwell, Anne-Marie E. (2003). Unearthing Gotham. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300097993. 
  2. "The Archaeological Investigation of The Stadt Huys Block: A Final Report". http://s-media.nyc.gov/agencies/lpc/arch_reports/514.pdf. 
  3. "Digging up Our Urban Past" (in en-US). The New York Times. 1981-04-12. ISSN 0362-4331. https://www.nytimes.com/1981/04/12/magazine/digging-up-our-urban-past.html. 
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