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The house located at 452 Saint Antoine Street was built sometime before 1880, when physician Amos Hoke was listed in city directories at this address. Sanborn fire insurance maps from the 1880s and 1890s show a two story brick dwelling at 452 St. Antoine, with a two-story garage at the rear of the parcel connected to the main house by a narrow, one-story addition that created a courtyard space between the house and the garage. The house was connected to city water lines by 1897 at the latest. City directories from the twentieth century list a series of day laborers and other blue-collar workers at this address. Although race or
ethnicity were not noted in these directories, these residents were likely African American.
Excavations at 452 St. Antoine revealed the solid brick foundation of the house, as well as several intact utility lines associated with the house. Inside the foundation at the rear end of the house, MSG documented evidence of the house’s demolition in the form of sequential layers of architectural material, including roofing shingles, window glass, tar-paper insulation, wallpaper, and hardware. These features stand in stark contrast with the stereotype of Paradise Valley as a slum full of rickety wooden tenements that was later pushed by urban planners’ intent on clearing the area for public housing.
The artifacts recovered from this site include numerous fragments of domestic items such as ceramic tableware, decorative knick-knacks, and hair combs have begun to paint a picture of the everyday lives of the laborers and their families who occupied this site.
One ceramic fragment is a commemorative plate from an African American church. Glass containers and other artifacts associated with commercial consumer goods indicate that well-known national brands (including Slocum’s Coltsfoot Expectorant, Four Roses Bourbon, Pond’s Skin Cream, and Box Calf shoes) were preferred over local products. Several artifacts point to the presence of children, including a porcelain toy pitcher, and ceramic tableware sherds from “alphabet” dishes which were a popular way of teaching children how to read.