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19th-Century Artifacts Found at Possible Tavern Site in Kentucky

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Kentucky Tavern ChickenLEXINGTON, KENTUCKY—Workers excavating at the corner of Vine Street and South Limestone in Lexington unearthed a brick wall facing Limestone and a limestone wall facing Vine Street, according to a report in the Lexington Herald-Leader. The area has been heavily developed over the years and it was thought that no historical features were present at the site. Archaeologist Jason Flay said an 1857 map of the area shows a building that was expanded as the street changed over the late nineteenth century. By 1871 a railroad depot had been built. Stone lice combs, metal buttons, pottery, an Indian head penny dated 1863, a clay pipe bowl thought to have been made in Wales or Scotland, a decorative ceramic chicken head that may have been part of a pitcher or other piece of serving ware, a bone or ivory domino, copper chains, animal bones, and ginger beer bottles were also recovered from the site. “It could be that this was at one time a restaurant or a tavern,” Flay said, based upon the mixture of high-end and basic items. The historic records also show that the building was demolished in the late 1870s and a hotel constructed in its place to serve the railroad’s passengers. To read about a Union Army camp in Kentucky where enslaved men, women, and children struggled for freedom, go to "A Path to Freedom."

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