No Gold? No Dinosaurs? No Long-Forgotten Tombs?
Instead, our backyard archaeological
dig found 97 Orchard Street's original toilet: an outdoor privy with multiple seats. Rather than a privy pit, this backyard outhouse had an underground 'vault' that drained into the public sewer under Orchard Street. It could be flushed occasionally with rainwater,or perhaps with water from a nearby spigot.
Although exceeding City requirements at first, this shared privy remained the only sanitation for the building's twenty apartments from 1864 to 1905, when two toilets were installed in the hallway
of each floor. Joan H. Geismar, Ph.D., urban archaeologist
Between 1864 and 1935, 97 Orchard Street housed nearly 7,000 people, mainly immigrants and their descendants, and it has been
home to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum since 1988.
You're always walking in somebody's footsteps. Who will walk in yours?