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Digging Garrison Ave

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On Saturday, April 28, the anthropology department will host UNH’s first community archaeology day.  Excavations at the Pettee House site located next to Garrison Avenue parking lot (across from Stoke Hall) will be open to the public from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.  

Students enrolled in course “The Lost Campus: The Archeology of UNH,” taught by Meghan Howey, an assistant professor of anthropology, have been working on the dig during the spring semester. The home of Charles Holmes Pettee, once stood on the site. Pettee served the university for 62 years, starting in 1876 in Hanover when the school was known as the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. He was a dean for 50 years and three times interim president. Before it was demolished in 2007, the family home had been the UNH housing office.

“We have found a lot of materials from the house construction itself – bricks, mortar, nails, and siding. We can see different layers of paint on the siding as well so you get a sense of the life history of the house,” says Howey. “Also the variation in the nails from historic square head nails to more recent round nails shows the house was repaired, again giving a sense of the life history of the house.”

Students also found a variety of historic glassware, including bottle pieces with maker’s marks on them, and pearlware ceramics.

Howey noted there are other locations of interest on campus, including the site of the barracks built in 1918 when UNH was turned into a training camp for WWI, which later became East and West Hall dorms.  Located next to the MUB, students have found the foundation from the barracks. Honors student and course assistant Jillian Price has earned a Hamel Center SURF award to excavate the site this summer and to expand archival research on the transformation of UNH into a training camp during WWI. 

Other potential cultural heritage sites on campus include:

  1. A cabin in College Woods built by the forestry club in 1921 (and blown down in 1938)
  2. The original train station, which was to the right of T-Hall
  3. The Faculty Club which was torn down in 1958, next to Congreve Hall
  4. The water tower foundation, behind Nesmith Hall (taken down in the late 1970s)
  5. The board track and other sports remnants,  behind the pool and Whittemore center
  6. Tennis courts, behind Fairchild and also near Scott Hall
  7. The ski jump at Beech Hill
  8. The observatory foundation in Boulder Field