Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mystery Building

Almost a year ago we held a very successful weekend field session in which we continued our shovel test survey of the north side of the town including in front of the courthouse. During that time, we hit some articulated bricks in an STP (#326) just to the right of the footpath leading to the courthouse. This is where we decided to put in Test Pit 3, just a few feet to the west of it. We came down upon a line of bricks poorly put together that could very well have been part of a brick sill or foundation to a building. According to local residents, there was a squatter who lived in a ramshackle building that he constructed in front of the courthouse in the first half of the 20th Century.

Well, today I was looking on the Society for the Restoration of Port Tobacco website for a particular picture and came across one that I had seen a hundred times before but never really paid any attention to. Here it is:


As you can see by the labels I put in, the building on the right doesn't fit. It is clearly too close to the foreground to be part of the courthouse. Could this be the mystery building that was found last October? And what purpose was it used for? It certainly doesn't look like a ramshackle building for a squatter to me.

This picture brings to light the issue of careful analysis of information already on hand. We went through the pictures many times and most likely just saw this as just another picture of the old courthouse as a church. A closer study of the photographs is necessary.

- Peter

1 comment:

S. Adams said...

Given the location of the fire hydrant to the small building, I'm guessing it was used for the storage of fire equipment - buckets, hoses, picks and such. The 18th century northern VA town where I was raised had a similar looking small building with an original hydrant located nearby. That building even housed the community horse-drawn fire wagon.