By Jennifer Glickel
CITY HALL — Fragments of an 18th century alms house have been discovered at City Hall, the New York Post reported.
City officials said Thursday that archaeologists digging test holes around City Hall for a $100 million renovation project came upon what is believed to be the structure's original foundation, according to the paper. The remnants were found near a City Hall retaining wall.
"It's not surprising to find remnants of historic structures," Amanda Sutphin, director of archaeology at the Landmarks Preservation Commission, told the Post. "But to be this close to the retaining wall is a little shocking."
Sutphin told the paper that hundreds of pre-Revolutionary artifacts were found in the three-day dig, from pottery pieces to clay pipe stems to the bones of slaughtered animals. While tests are being run to confirm the age of such pieces, they are all thought to have been from the 1700s.
The first almshouse in the City Hall Park area was built in 1736 and demolished in 1797. The almshouse was a homeless shelter, jail, and workhouse rolled into one, housing "poor needy persons, idle wandering vagabonds, sturdy beggars, and parents of bastard children," the Post quoted contemporary records as saying.
"In the 18th century, institutions not wanted in the center of town were placed here," Sutphin told the Post.