Houston Archeological Society presents Chasing Beer Bottles and Privy Pits
Douglas K. Boyd, archeologist with Prewitt and Associates, will present a program entitled Chasing Beer Bottles and Privy Pits: Urban Archeology at the Frost Town Site in Houston, Texas.
In the 1830s, German immigrants began settling in a prominent bend of Buffalo Bayou located just downstream from Allen’s landing. It evolved into a thriving neighborhood called Frost Town, and it survived as a viable community for more than 120 years. Frost Town underwent significant socioeconomic and ethnic changes as the surrounding area became increasingly industrialized. The community saw influxes of African American freedmen after emancipation, followed by influxes of Mexican families seeking jobs following the 1910 Mexican Revolution. By the 1930s, it had become a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood and was known as the Barrio del Alacran. It was impacted by the construction of the MKT Railroad Terminal in the 1920s and then again by the construction of the Elysian Viaduct roadway in the 1950s. A few stragglers held on, but all of the houses of the old barrio had disappeared by 1999.
This talk is a progress report on the historic archeological investigations at the Frost Town site. Many thousands of artifacts have been recovered, and more than 830 cultural features have been mapped and investigated. The most revealing features are those that can be linked with individual households from the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries including brick-lined and wooden barrel cisterns, brick and concrete house foundation piers, artifact concentrations under porches and in yard areas, pet burials, and ornamental alignments of upside-down buried bottles.