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Houston Excavation Reveals 19th-Century Neighborhood

Thursday, October 3, 2019

HOUSTON, TEXAS—Houstonia Magazine reports that a team of researchers and volunteers led by archaeologist Doug Boyd of Prewitt & Associates excavated areas of the site of Frost Town, a nineteenth-century working-class community located in what is now the city of Houston’s James Bute Park, ahead of a highway construction project. German and Irish immigrants were the first to arrive in Frost Town, which was established by Jonathan Benson Frost and his brother Samuel Frost in the 1830s. Boyd said the team members discovered border markers for yards and gardens made of upturned bottles that tend to be associated with German households dating to the later nineteenth century. One intact border included three Carl Conrad & Company Budweiser bottles dating to the 1870s. A French-made bone handle of either a toothbrush or a small butter knife was also recovered. “This was found in one of the German-household areas in Frost Town, and came from another German businessman in San Antonio,” Boyd explained. Later waves of immigration brought African American freedmen to Frost Town after Emancipation in 1863, and Mexican Americans after the 1910 Mexican Revolution, he added. Most of the town’s houses, cisterns, and brick sidewalks were demolished in the 1950s. To read about an unmarked cemetery for prison laborers outside Houston, go to "Another Form of Slavery."

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