|Examining the fireplace contents|
Collections Manager Kathleen O'Hara led the "dig", sorting through pounds of grit and debris to identify evidence of the building's past.
Most of the material from the first fireplace related to William Sher’s jobbing house, located at 97 from about 1924 to 1935. We don't know precisely when this second fireplace was sealed, but most of its content relates to an earlier business called Claman Stove repair, located at 97 Orchard from about 1909 to 1917.
Unlike its neighbor, which was sealed in a rather haphazard fashion, this fireplace was covered with carefully fitted beaded board (recycled wainscot material) with a wood-grained finish beneath coats of paint.
Fireplace #2 contained a cache of older, and in some cases less immediately recognizable objects, including a toy ball, a small metal pitcher, a cloth cap (the flattened object in the middle of the picture above), and a small metal axe head (see below).
We'll keep you posted as work continues on our Shop Life exhibit!
-- Posted by Public Relations Manager Kira Garcia