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Washington's Board of Public Works and the Burial of Herring Hill in Georgetown, District of Columbia (An Archaeology of Municipal Infrastructure).

Author(s): Matthew Palus

Year: 2015

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Summary

A dramatic investment in the infrastructure of Georgetown followed the establishment of a single municipal government for the City of Washington in 1871, and the abolishment of Georgetown’s charter as an independent municipality. Establishing new street grades in this context resulted in the near-burial of homes in an African-American section of Georgetown called Herring Hill, which became an unofficial dump for fill excavated during infrastructure work. Beginning in February 2011, The District of Columbia Department of Transportation rehabilitated pavements and all buried utilities in a residential section of the Georgetown neighborhood. This work revealed that some elements of the 19th-century infrastructure remained in service across more than a century.  Here I argue for an association between the extant infrastructure and the former African American community of Georgetown, and use this perhaps tangential material culture to discuss the economy of Herring Hill: vigorous, independent, yet rendered irrelevant by municipal planners.


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Cite this Record

Washington's Board of Public Works and the Burial of Herring Hill in Georgetown, District of Columbia (An Archaeology of Municipal Infrastructure).. Matthew Palus. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433856)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 542

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America