The Port Richmond site is located within the block bounded by Richmond Street, Cambria Street, Melvale Avenue, and Ann Street. Phase IB and II investigations were initially undertaken in the area under I-95 (visible in the background) with machine trenching exposing foundations of the Richmond Presbyterian Church, and the remains of a nineteenth and twentieth century brick oven related to a bakery at 2921 Richmond Street both fronting onto Richmond Street. No intact yard deposits were identified in this area. This portion of the investigation did not proceed beyond the test trench phase and will be discussed separately.
Initial clearing of the site involved both machine and hand excavation exposing foundations and shaft features. The Conrail facility is visible in the background. Archaeologists in the foreground are exposing Feature 2, a brick privy shaft located in the rear yard of 2924 Melvale Avenue.
The stone foundations in the foreground (Structure 1, Wall 1) are likely related to a possible stable structure or outbuilding shown on the 1862 Smedley Map and a retaining wall delineating the rear property boundaries between 2922 and 2924 Melvale Avenue and 2923 and 2925 Richmond Street.
This view shows the stone building foundation (Structure 1) and section of possible retaining wall (Wall 1).
The surviving parallel walls of Structure 1 appear to have been truncated facing the Conrail property, a probable result of rail yard construction in the 1940s.
The A horizon (historic ground surface) had also been removed, also a result of the Conrail yard expansion.
The entire project site was mechanically stripped of fill exposing undisturbed subsoil horizons. The natural A horizon ground surface had previously been removed by rail yard expansion.
The excavation area was confined to the right of way of the realigned Richmond Street. This view shows a section of the mechanically stripped area extending to Cambria Street in the background. A brick privy shaft (Feature 86) is visible in the foreground.
The majority of shaft features were discovered after the overlying fill was removed exposing the remaining below ground portion of the barrel, wood-lined box, or brick shaft.
These structures are visible as circular brick rings or dark soil patches in contrast to the surrounding natural soil. The upper sections of these shafts have been removed when Conrail expanded the rail yard.
Complete excavation of the shaft features revealed the construction elements of individual privy shafts. This view shows a wood-lined box feature (Feature 20) during excavation of the fill deposits.
The wood plank walls of this shaft are arranged vertically. Wood-box shafts were also lined with horizontal planks and were generally four feet square, although wood-lined box shafts were also rectangular measuring approximately eight feet wide.
No rectangular wood-lined shafts were identified at the Port Richmond site.
A total of 74 features were identified at the Port Richmond site comprising 30 privy shaft features (10 brick, 9 barrel, 11 wood-box), 14 post holes/molds and 30 pits. Figure 2 shows the extent of features identified across the excavation area during data recovery.
Properties fronting onto Richmond, Cambria, and Melvale Streets were investigated within the new Richmond Street right-of-way comprising approximately one-fourth of the block.