Stinchcomb Farmstead (18BC188)

The Stinchcomb Farmstead is a mid-19th to early 20th century domestic site that was discovered and recorded in 2015 during work done by Elizabeth Comer and her company for a proposed gas line. The site includes both subsurface features and above-ground structural features. It is currently located within the bounds of Leakin Park.

History

Archival research indicates this site was the Caleb Stinchcomb farmstead, a roughly nine acre property purchased in 1844 from the former Adam Smith Estate. The parcel remained in the Stinchcomb/Gordon family from 1844 to 1965, when it was sold to the City of Baltimore. It was apparently used as the family farmstead in the mid-19th century and again in the late nineteenth and into the early twentieth century. There may have been some periods when the farm was under tenancy. Topographic maps dating to 1921 prepared by the City of Baltimore depict this farmstead.

Archaeological Investigations

Archaeological work was done in 2015 in conjunction with a BGE Granite gas line project. EAC conducted the Phase IB and Phase II survey, which involved work on both 18BC101 and 18BC188 (Harris 2016). A total of 48 shovel tests were excavated in the Phase I testing and seven above ground structural features were recorded. These structural features include the main house foundation and cellar, the stone smokehouse, the barn/garage foundation, a second large cellar hole north of the main house, and a stone-lined well and sink within the central portion of the site, and a concrete trough and two large stone piles which may represent collapsed structures of a size similar to the smokehouse in the eastern end of the site. Based on the 1921 topographic plan suggests that there were four additional frame structure in the main (central) complex that are currently not visible above ground.

Artifacts from the first phase of testing site include poorly diagnostic ceramics such as whitewares, redware, and stoneware, although the bulk of the material consisted of architectural material, primarily nails. This architectural material (108 artifacts, 85 of which were nails, and 67 of those nails appear to be cut nails in various sizes) was recovered from just west of the main house, where a surface burn layer was noted.

In November 2015, Phase II testing consisted of 90 shovel tests at 50-foot and 25-foot intervals and eight 1x1m excavation units. Pearlware was the earliest diagnostic ceramic recovered, albeit in small numbers. Undecorated whiteware was the most common ceramic recovered, but the handful of diagnostic sherds show a mid-nineteenth century span, with one late to early twentieth century example. Diagnostic glass includes one sherd of solarized glass from the late nineteenth to c. 1915 recovered from Layer 2, and eleven sherds representing early twentieth century manufacturers.

The complex was likely constructed in the later 1840s or early 1850s, when it may have consisted of primarily the main house and the similarly constructed springhouse. Over time additional support structures were constructed, with the fieldstone foundations and associated ceramics suggesting that the garage/barn and the southern cellar hole were likely constructed by the later nineteenth century. Finally, based on archival records and negative evidence, it seems a construction stage utilizing purely frame construction was completed prior to 1923.

One subsurface structural feature was identified, a fieldstone wall segment truncated by a twentieth century utility trench. The construction materials used for the Feature 1/6 wall segment suggest it may have been part of later 19th- century expansion.

A total of 3747 historic artifacts were found in the Phase II testing; just under 1300 from disturbed contexts. Much of the remaining material was from the plowzone. Since the portions of the site with intact features and structural remains were outside of the area to be affected by the pipe line, no further work was recommended.

(Written by Patricia Samford)

References

  • Harris, Tery
  • 2016. Phase I Archeological Survey and Phase II Evaluation Study of 18BC101 and 18BC188 for the Proposed Baltimore Gas and Electric Granite Pipeline Relocation Project Phase 2, Baltimore City, Maryland. Elizabeth Anderson Comer/Archaeology.

About the MAC Lab

The MAC Lab
Visiting the MAC Lab

Contact Us