The Pinkney House: A Little Context

To contextualize our work at the Pinkney House, here is a brief history of the site. This is our first field season working at the site, although this work is an extension of our earlier work on neighboring Fleet, Cornhill, and East Streets.

Screening for artifacts at the Pinkney House. Source: Benjamin Skolnik.

Screening for artifacts at the Pinkney House. Source: Benjamin Skolnik

During the last decades of the 19th century, and the first quarter of the 20th century, there was an increase in new building construction, as well as an increase in homes and boarding houses built to house working class Annapolitans in this portion of the historic district. During this time many of the larger 18th century lots were subdivided into smaller parcels, with narrow street frontages, on which attached row houses were built. The James Holliday and Pinkney Street houses reflect this development. During the late 19th and early 20th century, East, Pinkney, and Fleet Streets were occupied predominantly by African American residents, and the area became a well known African American enclave in the City.

The land on which the Pinkney House now sits was part of lot 87 during the subdivision of the City, a plot of land that was adjacent to Nicholson’s lot (on which Fleet, Cornhill, and parts of East Street now sit). By 1831, the land was owned by Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a wealthy planter who was the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. Carroll sold the lot to John Randall one year before his death, which occurred when he was ninety-five years old.

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