Thursday, December 11, 2008

Modeling Town Lot Organization

Reconstructing the town requires that we figure out where each lot was located and which families were associated with which lots throughout the town's history. This graphic (see below) should convey some sense of the problem. On the left are 100 squares, each equal to 10,000 ft2, or about one-fifth of an acre. They could be larger, measuring as much as one acre. On the right is a reconstruction of the town boundaries based on the surveyor's metes and bounds, or description.
Now, arrange the numbered blocks in the correct order without knowing where to start or end. If you can imagine that, you have some sense of the problem.

This is not an impossible task. We can place a few lots on the ground today. We then use the land records to figure out which lots border a particular lot. Find enough clusters of lots that can be reliably arranged and relate them to a lot that can be defined on the ground and progress has been made in reconstructing the layout of the town. That done, we can relate archaeological finds to specific households and businesses.

Of course, all of this would be a hell of lot easier if we could find a copy of the 1728 plat!


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