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Indian River
Anthropological Society

PRITCHARD HOUSE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY
TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA

Drawing of the Pritchard House in Titusville, FL.

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Indian River Anthropological Society (IRAS), in cooperation with the North Brevard Heritage Foundation, conducted a Phase I Archaeological survey at the historic Pritchard House to identify and report the presence of prehistoric or historic archaeological deposits within the boundaries of the parcel. The study was conducted in June and July 2005.

The leading citizens of Titusville constructed both modest and elaborate houses in the most popular styles of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Of these styles, the Queen Anne was the most stylish with its decorative shingle-work and irregularly shaped plan. In Titusville, the houses located along South Washington and North Indian River Avenue were showcases placed in prominent locations. Many of the significant Queen Anne structures have been removed over the past fifty years, leaving the Pritchard House the only remaining residence along the South Washington Avenue corridor (Historic Property Associates 1987).

Background: Captain Pritchard and early Titusville

Pritchard was born in New York City in 1839, and moved to Missouri before the Civil War. While serving as a Confederate soldier in the Civil War, he compiled an impressive battle record; and ultimately achieved the rank of Captain. After the war, he moved to Galveston, Texas, where he met and married Mary H. Boye in 1866. The Pritchards moved to Titusville from St. Louis in 1876. He organized the Indian River State Bank, incorporated in 1889, and served as its president. He also owned a hardware store at what is now 327 South Washington Avenue. Pritchard operated the city's first electrical generator on the grounds of his house. The Pritchard House was built in 1891 by contractor Pleasant J.Hall. After Pritchard's death in' 1925, his son, Duvall, lived at the residence. The house remained in the Pritchard family until 2005. It is now owned by the Brevard County Parks and Recreation Department.

Pritchard House (8BR542)

The Pritchard House was documented in 1987 by Historic Property Associates. The Pritchard House is a two-story wood-framed Queen Anne residence located on a large corner lot near downtown Titusville. Surrounded by a white picket fence, the house is situated on the northwest corner of the intersection of South Washington Avenue and Pine Street. Because of its prominent location on South Washington Avenue, a major thoroughfare, and its distinctive Queen Anne detailing, the Pritchard House is one of the most recognized buildings in the city (Historic Property Associates 1987). The main block of the house is gable front with a slope-front gable wing on the south elevation. Exterior walls are imbricated with wood fish-scale shingles. Outstanding features on the main block include decorative ogee-shaped bargeboard with incised scrollwork and drop pendants. The side gable contains round, arched bargeboard of similar design. A conical tower at the southeast corner complements a canted, two-story porch. The porch wraps the east and west elevations and is supported by small Tuscan columns with scroll brackets. The front gabled bay is canted. Three large brick chimneys with corbelled caps and hoods are located on the north and south lateral slopes of the roof and the west ridge. The house rests on a brick pier foundation. A rear porch addition does not significantly affect the integrity of the structure (Historic Property Associates 1987). It is one of the finest historic residences, and the best example of the Queen Anne style within the City of Titusville. The house conforms to the associated property type through its use of the Queen Anne style. Its styling is expressed through its irregular massing, use of a variety of exterior materials, its steeply pitched, irregularly shaped roof, and its conical corner porch tower (Historic Property Associates 1987).
1895 Pritchard House in Titusville, FL. 2005 Pritchard House in Titusville, FL. 2010 Pritchard House in Titusville, FL.
Pritchard House ca. 1895 Pritchard House during restoration ca. 2005 Pritchard House after restoration completed ca. 2010

HISTORIC RESEARCH

Previously Identified Sites

In 1987 Historic Property Associates conducted a historic properties survey within Titusville. They documented 204 historic properties within an area along the Indian River including US 1 (Washington Avenue), FEC railroad grade, Tropic Street, and several other neighborhoods. Their survey also included a structure at Dunn Airport (8 BR 534). Dunn Airport was one of the stops in Brevard County for airmail delivery in the first part of the Twentieth Century (HPA 1987). At the northeastern point of the Historic Titusville Commercial District is the Max Brewer Bridge (8 BR 1699), on the main access road to Canaveral National Seashore and the northern entrance to the Kennedy Space Center. The old Max Brewer Bridge was one of two extant historic deck-girder swing automobile bridges in Florida. To the southwest of the Pritchard House property is UWF 1 (8 BR 565), a prehistoric St. Johns Period camp site (Bense & Phillips 1990).

There are three unrecorded but locally known sites within close proximity to the Pritchard House. The Old Dixie Highway located to the north is a known historic road. A portion of the road is located within the corridor of the Hernandez-Capron Trail, a Seminole War Period military trail that ran from Volusia County to present day Ft. Pierce. This section of the Old Dixie Highway was also the main north to south road through the community of LaGrange in the mid to late 19th Century. There are several potentially National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) -eligible homes and one NRHP-listed church and cemetery along this road. The Hernandez-Capron Trail continues south off of Old Dixie Highway and runs just east of the Pritchard House. Along SR 406, just west of the Max Brewer Bridge, is the buried hull of a ship that burned at its moorings in the late 19th Century. Two members of the Brevard County Historical Commission informed the author that the ship is located just south of the road (Ball 2005: Personal Communication; Foster 2005: Personal Communication). It is highly likely that remains of this ship are still intact at this location.

Pritchard Historic Research Maps from 1874 to present were reviewed to identify the placement of buildings and other structures within the parcel. Almost all were general maps of Florida and indicate the growth of Titusville as a prominent town in the region. Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps from 1893 to 1942 were reviewed for information on the subject property and surrounding parcels. The 1893 map indicated the house was completed. Behind the house (west side) was a stable, a water tower, and a windmill.
1893 Sanborn map locating the Pritchard House in Titusville, FL. 1899 Sanborn map locating the Pritchard House in Titusville, FL.
1893 Sanborn Map of Titusville (Pritchard property shown in red) 1899 Sanborn map of Titusville showing the Pritchard parcel

1908 Sanborn map locating the Pritchard House in Titusville, FL. 1920 Sanborn map locating the Pritchard House in Titusville, FL.
1908 Sanborn map of Titusville showing the Pritchard parcel 1920 Sanborn map of Titusville showing the Pritchard parcel

To the north were two buildings, one was described as a single-family residence. To the east (on the east side of Washington Avenue) were another two dwellings. To the south and west were two houses. All the current roads were observed present on this 1893 map. Six years later (1899), the windmill was gone; however, the elevated water tank and the stable were still present. A circular underground cistern was shown just north of the northwest corner of the house. On the north side of the subject property was a single-family residence with an outbuilding behind it. On the east side of Washington Avenue were two commercial buildings. To the west and south were undeveloped parcels and single-family residences.

In the 1903 map conditions at the site were unchanged. A music hall was now located on the south side of the commercial buildings located on the east side of Washington Avenue. The houses on the west side of Hopkins Avenue were identified as vacant. Otherwise the immediate area was unchanged.

By 1915, there was an addition to the rear of the house. The cistern was now "pill shaped". The stable was now described as a shed and a small square building was located at the center of the back yard. Interviews with family members suggested this may actually have been a chicken coop. To the north, the house which faced Washington Avenue was gone and the outbuilding was described as vacant. A new house was shown facing Hopkins Avenue. To the east were more commercial buildings. To the south and west were two single-family residences. It should be noted that all the houses had some type of cistern or water tower to collect water.

In 1920, the property was unchanged. To the north, the house observed in the 1915 map was now listed as a telephone exchange. It is believed this was the original telephone exchange for Titusville. In the 1926 map, the cistern is not shown within the subject property. To the north, the telephone exchange is visible and the small vacant building seen in previous maps is listed as being used for storage. On the east side of Washington Avenue, three buildings are shown - two were offices and one was a store. On the west side of Hopkins Avenue the parcel is vacant.

A review of the 1942 map indicated the shed/stable was gone and so was the cistern. To the north, only the telephone exchange was present. Two gas stations were on the east side of Washington Avenue. The remaining parcels were unchanged.

The historic research indicated several outbuildings or features significant to archaeologists. Based on the Sanborn maps, we know that the parcel contained a stable (later a shed), a windmill, and possibly two cisterns. We strongly suspected there would be privy pits or historic trash pits, typical of this time period, in the back yard of the property.

Pritchard House Archaeological Survey

Phase 1 Archaeological Survey

Historic research for the present project indicated several outbuildings or features that are significant to the property. It is known from the Sanborn maps and other sources a stable existed in the northwestern corner of the parcel. In addition, there were two cisterns, a windmill, and a chicken coop on the west side of the house. It was also believed that trash pits exist in the same area. Based on this information, there was a high probability of the lot containing buried cultural material. We took the results of all the historic data and created a conceptual map showing the approximate location of all the known historic features within the parcel.

Historic features of the Pritchard House grounds.
Approximate location of historic features based upon the historic data.

The initial fieldwork was conducted in 2006. At that time, the project was included in our Archaeology Month public education event. At the same time, the NBHF used this opportunity to educate the public on the restoration efforts. All fieldwork was open to the public.

A grid system was established across the site at 5 meter intervals, creating 77 squares, each 5 meters by 5 meters in size. Each square was subjected to a systematic surface survey. Of the 77 squares established, 11 were under the house and could not be surveyed. All the squares surveyed did contain modern trash. After discarding the modern debris, a total of six squares were found to contain historic artifacts, and, to our surprise, prehistoric ceramic sherds. As can be seen from the map, most of the historic (and prehistoric) material was found at the rear of the house. The highest density of material was found near the northwest corner of the property, the former location of the stables. Interestingly, the highest number of prehistoric pottery sherds was found at the southwest corner of the house, near the kitchen.

Surface survey of the Pritchard House grounds.

Results of the surface survey

The second phase of the survey was subsurface testing. A shovel test was excavated at each point on the grid unless conditions prohibited it. Each shovel test (ST) was 50 x 50 x 100 cm in size. All soil was screened through quarter-inch hardware cloth sifting screens. All artifacts found in the STs were bagged, and together with the forms, sent back to the laboratory for analysis. The figure below shows the negative and positive shovel tests and the locations of the highest density of artifacts which suggest areas for future testing.

Results-Shovel testing of the Pritchard House grounds.
Results of the subsurface testing at the site (white STs are sterile).

Loci 1 was an area with a high density of domestic trash, including what appears to be a distinctive trash pit dating to the late 19th century and possibly very early into the 20th century. Loci 2 was the cistern. At the time of our survey we were unable to completely excavate the cistern. It appears that at some time the roof was caved in to fill the cistern. Typically, when cisterns were abandoned they are used to dispose of household refuse. We have found enough artifacts during our survey to suggest more material may be buried in the cistern. Locii 3 and 4 were identified by the high density of artifacts found in those specific STs.

Construction Monitoring

Two years after the archaeological survey, the IRAS and NBHF were called back to the site to monitor construction activities. As part of the house restoration, heavy equipment was brought into excavate under the front portion (north and west area) of the house to set new footers and to stabilize the existing foundation. Soil piles were staged for examination by the IRAS and NBHF crew members.

Prithard House soil removal area 2008
Location of the soil removal area under the Pritchard House
Excavated soils were screened to find artifacts. The most surprising part of this investigation was the amount of historic artifacts found at from under the house AND the presence of a prehistoric projectile point, two bone pins, and high number of prehistoric pottery sherds. This firmly established the presence of a prehistoric habitation site within the Pritchard parcel and the prehistoric site may extend further north, east, and south onto adjacent parcels.

Results

What did this project tell us? The survey was very important to tell the history of the Pritchard House. While written accounts and oral histories do tell us a lot, archaeology can tell us so much more. Based on the types of domestic ceramics used and the glassware recovered, we can say that the people living on the property were economically within the middle class. All the artifacts are typical of domestic activities seen at other house sites of this era. There are buried trash pits that have not been excavated that can give us more information. We also know that even though the parcel has been developed, a prehistoric component dating from 500 BC to AD 1565 was preserved. Finally, the archaeology and historical research tells us that there is a very high probability that cultural resources lie buried within adjacent parcels.

Acknowledgements

The IRAS thanks the North Brevard Heritage Foundation for assisting us in coordinating the archaeological project and helping us in the field. We also thank the Brevard County Parks and Recreation Department (especially Cheryl Page) for their support. Finally, we thank all the descendants and family members of Colonel Pritchard who made this project enjoyable.

Final Note:

We are asking that if any cultural material is uncovered on parcels adjacent to the Pritchard House that you contact the IRAS immediately. We would like to access your discovery and there is no cost.




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