Donut Delight (18BC82)

The Donut Delight site (18BC82), also known as Property 2, consisted of 19th-20th century structural foundations for urban rowhouses, as well as brick and cement pier associated with one of the foundation walls and a series of curbstones that denoted the original edge of Conway Street in the Camden Yards area of Baltimore. Originally, this property encompassed much of the south side of Conway Street between Little Green and Warner Streets. At the time of excavation, the site was bounded by West Conway Street to the north, Russell Street to the west, Lee Street to the south and Briscoe Street to the east. Today, the site is covered by Camden Yards, the stadium for the Baltimore Orioles. Soils mapped for the area are classified as “Urban Land”, meaning that 80% of the surface is covered either by buildings or by impervious surfaces such as asphalt or concrete.

This block was first developed in the late 1820s and early 1830s as a mixed residential and industrial area. Five two story rowhouses had been built by the late 1830s at the northeastern end of the block. Half the residents were tenants and half were owners in 1838. In the same year, the western end of the block near Warner Street was the site of Thomas White’s brick foundry and engine house and a machine shop was at the corner of Warner and Conway Streets. After the Civil War, the industrial enterprises had been replaced by residential rowhouses. The S. R. Sexton Stove Foundry was located in the middle of the western end of the block from circa 1877 to the beginning of the twentieth century. The foundry expanded over time, including at least five major buildings on the block along West Conway Street. By the 1950s, lots previously occupied by the company were commercial warehouses. The southwestern end of the block, bordering Warner Street remained residential.

This site was examined as part of the larger Camden Yards project conducted by R. Christopher Goodwin and Associates between October 1989 and March of 1990. A series of 13 trenches were machine excavated; six features were recorded. Four features were brick foundation walls; presumably for rowhouse structures once standing on the property. Soils around the foundation walls were filled with architectural debris, such as brick, mortar, cast iron pipes, cement and window glass. One feature was a brick and cement pier associated with one of the foundation walls and the final feature consisted of several granite curbstones that ran along the edge of Conway Street. While a total of 189 artifacts were retained from the thirteen machine cut trenches, none of the artifacts were attributed directly to any of the individual features.

The final report states that “although remnant portions of row house foundations were present…these remnants were not substantial enough to contain significant data about construction, occupation or activities associated with these structures. The same may be said fo the footprint of the S. R. Sexton Company furnace factory….The artifacts observed and retained from these excavations reflect the nature of the deposits associated with these features: most resulted from the destruction of row houses. Neither the domestic nor the industrial components of 18BC82 were found to retain the potential to contribute greatly to our knowledge or understanding of domestic or commercial activities in the Camden Yards area in the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries” (Kuranda et al. 1992:87, 93).

(Written by Patricia Samford)

References

  • Kuranda, Kathryn, Elizabeth Pena, Suzanne Sanders, Martha R. Williams, David Landon, and Justine Woodard
  • 1992. Archeological and Architectural Investigations at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland 2 vols. R. Christopher Goodwin and Associates, Inc.

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