Caulkers’ Houses: Update for May 18th & 19th

The Spring field season is off to a great start at the Caulkers’ Houses in Fells Point! This weekend, we discovered a dazzling array of 19th-century material culture, and have begun to explore the ways in which the families who lived in these homes made the most of limited indoor and outdoor space. We’ve found several children’s toys, including marbles and porcelain dolls, imported and locally-made ceramics, everyday items such as kitchen knives and teaspoons, and even two human teeth – one baby tooth and a wisdom tooth (home dentistry was an unfortunate fact of 19th-century life).

Although a portion of the rear yard appears to be disturbed, likely due to privy digging in the 20th century, there are many areas that have enormous potential to provide meaningful insights into the lives of the African-American ship caulkers and the various immigrant families who lived in these modest homes. We’ll be back again next week with new questions and new discoveries!


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