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"Auto House" Discovered Volume 55 Number 1, January/February 2002
by Robert L. Schuyler

Historical archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania have uncovered the foundations of a ca. 1920 garage. Trying to understand an era when the stable was being rapidly replaced by the "auto house," the archaeologists are conducting the excavations in the backyard of a Victorian home in Vineland, New Jersey. The early garage is surprisingly large, about 20 feet by 20 feet. Though it was almost certainly wood-frame, its foundations were constructed of pressed concrete blocks with pseudo-rock facing--a popular building material in the United States between 1905 and 1930. Domestic trash dating between 1920 and the 1950s has been found stratified against the exterior walls of the garage.

The excavations are part of a long-term study of southern New Jersey during the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. Vineland, a planned agricultural community, has a history powerfully influenced by transportation. The arrival of the railroad in 1861 led to the town's founding, and the post-1910 Automobile Age sparked the town's transformation into a city with the largest municipal boundaries in New Jersey.

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© 2002 by the Archaeological Institute of America
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