Rediscovering Elfreth’s Alley’s 19th-century History through Public Archaeology

Author(s): Deirdre Kelleher

Year: 2015

Summary

During the 19th century, Elfreth’s Alley in Old City Philadelphia was the bustling home of a community of immigrants from across Europe.  Today, however, the residential street is remembered and lauded primarily for its early colonial roots.  The Alley, which was formed circa 1702 and contains 32 brick row houses, was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1960 and was later listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a notable representation of surviving, early American architecture.  While the Alley is popularly referred to as the oldest continuously-occupied residential street in the United States, studying and discussing the later, post-colonial periods of occupation on the Alley is often problematic against the backdrop of the preserved, 18th-century streetscape.  This paper examines how creating a public archaeology program at Elfreth’s Alley has helped bridge the metaphorical and pedagogical gap of examining 19th-century life in Philadelphia at a colonially-centered, historic site.

Cite this Record

Rediscovering Elfreth’s Alley’s 19th-century History through Public Archaeology. Deirdre Kelleher. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433982)

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Keywords

Temporal Keywords
19th Century

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 247