Sunday, February 15, 2009

Digging Up the Past

I always like reading these articles. It's cool that you can find history right under the streets. Usually it's just utilities and such, but sometimes you find more...
When the site for MacArthur Center was excavated in 1997, discoveries included a Hessian gold coin, 4,000-year-old spear points, Colonial-era pottery shards and a 19th-century medicine bottle.
...
Streetcar tracks are not uncommon, he said, and often "ugly to remove. There's usually a large concrete footer beneath the tracks to work around." Streetcars ran in Norfolk from about 1870 to 1948. He's also come across old retaining walls and bulkheads since parts of Norfolk were underwater."We just punch our way right through them," Swan said. When improving Boush Street several years ago, he said, the most unexpected obstacle was a live Western Union telegraph line.
In other places around the world such as Rome, it can get a bit crazy digging for subways.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Istanbul Metro system is facing some of the same things as Rome. Diging up lot of relics.

Rollie Fingers said...

Apologies for what is likely to be an obvious question, but how feasible would it be to uncover old streetcar tracks and use them again? There are plenty of them here in Baltimore, and when they show through the pavement, they look rather well-preserved...

arcady said...

In Baltimore in particular this would be problematic, since Baltimore's streetcars used a unique 5'4" track gauge, which is not compatible with the standard-gauge light rail, or even the broad gauge used in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and New Orleans, which I think is 5'2.5"