The Gleason Park Redevelopment Project includes six city blocks south of the Crosstown Freeway and north of Hazelton Avenue. This mixed use project includes the redevelopment of Gleason Park, Alex G. Spanos Elementary School, two new affordable housing projects, and the potential for new retail development adjacent to Lafayette Avenue.
Three blocks of housing was demolished in order to make room for this project. The State Office of Historic Preservation required the Redevelopment Agency to undertake several activities to document and preserve the historic homes that once occupied this site. These measures included saving architectural features from one of the homes to be reused in the new community center, installation of a historic display in the new school, and completion of an archaeological excavation and report documenting the history of this working class neighborhood.
Who lived in this part of downtown Stockton?
This area had many single-family and multi-family residences, boarding houses, and rental apartments in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Overall, this neighborhood was ethnically diverse with a mixture of residential and smaller commercial properties. Many of the people who lived here in the 19th and 20th centuries rented their homes, which mean different people may have lived in the same building over time and everyone left traces in the archaeological record.
Some of the houses that used to be here were built in the 1890s - during the Victorian Era. This period is named for Queen Victoria of England and, through historical documents, we know what kinds of social values and ideas were popular during this period. Even though the United States were no longer British colonies, there was still an exchanged of material goods and cultural ideas back and forth across the Atlantic.
One Person's Trash is an Archaeologist's Artifact
Objects become part of the archaeological record when they are lost or thrown away. They may have been used for one day or ten years. Before the days of curb-side garbage pick-up, people would throw their trash out their backdoor. Sometimes this creates sheets of trash, other times people find or make holes in their backyards to dump things in.
Privies, old-fashioned outdoor toilets, were used before indoor plumbing became the norm in the 1920s. Privies were also often used as trash dumps, because it was a large hole - out of sight, out of mind. Because it was a toilet, objects were rarely taken or broken by activity.
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This City of Stockton webpage last reviewed on --- 3/22/2011