A Chinese Coin and Flaked Glass: The Unrecorded History of Smith Cove

Author(s): Alicia Valentino

Year: 2016


In the tide flats of Smith Cove was one of Seattle’s small shantytowns, occupied between 1911 and 1941. In 2014, construction monitoring uncovered the remnants of this community, and with it, materials representing an itinerant, low-income, multi-cultural population. The artifacts indicate the presence of Native Americans, Japanese, Chinese, and Euro-Americans, and demonstrate how Smith Cove functioned as a multi-cultural nexus of traditional practices within a modern industrialized urban landscape. The artifacts also provide information beyond the archival record. This paper tells that community’s story. The diverse assemblage runs the gamut from a flaked glass scraper and glass debitage, to a Chinese coin and ceramics, to common, market accessible American wares. The result demonstrates the perseverance of cultural practices, the formation of community ties, the consumption of alcohol during Prohibition, and the health and lifeways of a marginalized population that was forcibly moved from their homes.

Cite this Record

A Chinese Coin and Flaked Glass: The Unrecorded History of Smith Cove. Alicia Valentino. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434740)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 547