The Buried Bracket
It was a sunny Friday on June 3rd when our field school did survey by digging test pits behind the museum, in Sacred Space near Beaumont Tower. This is the area around where College Hall (First building on campus) once stood. The building collapsed in 1918 due to poor construction, was demolished, and then was replaced with the Beaumont Tower.
I had the honor of working with my classmate, Nancy. We were digging east of Beaumont Tower. Nancy was digging the test pit while I screened the dirt that was dug up. Within the 38 cm deep hole, we’ve found a small decorative iron bracket. It is 6.5 cm long, 4.5 cm in width and height. It had two holes in it that indicated it could be nailed to the wall.
“A bracket to what?” We thought. Our first guess was to a shelf. But after discussion with our Campus Archaeologist, Chris, we’ve determined it was too small and not strong enough to carry a shelf. Then we thought it could hold something light, like a coat or a curtain rod.
Our teacher assistant, Kristin brought our field school some catalogs we could use for research for our blog entries. In Sears Roebuck and Co. Consumer Guide for Fall 1900, edited by Joseph J. Schroeder, Jr. I’ve found on page 635 curtain poles held up by brackets that look some what similar to what we’ve found. This reinforces our hypothesis that the bracket was once used to hold a curtain pole.
Evidence suggests it’s from College Hall. This Sears catalog is from the 1900s. College Hall existed from 1856-1918, the same time period. College Hall collapsed 1918 due to poor construction. The bracket appears to be cast iron (because of its reddish color), which is a cheap material. The back end of the bracket is not a clear break but bumpy, this confirms it’s a cheap metal. Knowing little about early campus life, I can determine from this small decorative bracket that the buildings were very decorative to the finest detail. Knowing the building was cheaply made and seeing the bracket being a cheap material, I can conclude that the bracket is from College Hall.