Departmental Honors Project Title
Date of Award
College of Liberal Arts
The Simpson Avenue site is a household site dating to the 19th and 20th centuries. It is located on Hamline University’s current campus in the ‘backyard’ of the White House. The site was discovered during the fall of 2013 by the Excavating Hamline History class. While our original intention was to find a shed structure pictured on an 1886 plat map, we discovered a post-hole and an intact cultural deposit. A 2x1 meter test unit and six shovel tests were conducted on the property that determined site boundaries and the vertical and horizontal distribution of artifacts and features. The excavation units show clear soil changes that define the fluctuating use in landscape at the site. The home originally on this property, the 830 Simpson Avenue house, created an assemblage of 19th and early 20th century artifacts over time. While the assemblage from the site was relatively small, the artifact analysis showed the presence of women in terms of the kitchen refuse associated with women’s roles, the clothing components, and personal items of women and girls. Similarly, the archival analysis helped place women at the site during the time period consistent with our intact assemblage, indicating they were active participants in creating the assemblage.
By the 1940’s this site had undergone a variety of changes in occupation and site use as well as construction to the house. Ownership of the home was private until 1916 when it was purchased by Hamline University. Students began residing in the homes all along Simpson Avenue (between Hewitt and Wesley avenue), and eventually these homes were rented to individual families. In 1946, the 830 house was moved to a new location and became 862 Simpson Ave. In place of the 830 house, the White House was moved onto the property. The construction and demolition debris observed in the soil stratigraphy indicates the crucial change from a residential neighborhood to the landscape influenced by university expansion. From 1946 on, the White House has remained in the same location on Hamline campus with remnants of the original Midway neighborhood just below our feet.
Elm, Arianna C., "Reconstructing 830 Simpson Avenue; An Archaeological Investigation of Household Life Cycles in a 19th and 20th Century Working-class Neighborhood" (2014). Departmental Honors Projects. 9.