Margaret Brent and Anne Arundel Excavations Unearth History

When the plan was made to redevelop Anne Arundel Hall and move Margaret Brent Hall, Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC) and the College came together to preserve the history the site holds. During the excavations, many finds were made that will have a significant impact on the overall understanding of HSMC. Chip Jackson, the Associate Vice President for Planning and Facilities said, “before we do any work, we need to understand historical resources. It is a National Historic Landmark.”

The excavation site, stretching from the current location of Margaret Brent Hall to where HSMC stands today has been carefully processed in sections by a team of archeologists since May 2010. The team consists almost entirely of St. Mary’s alumni working for HSMC. The site contains evidence of Native American, 17th, 18th, and 19th-century inhabitants.

Somewhere around Anne Arundel Hall, there once stood a 19th century plantation house, built in 1815. The archeologists have not found the remnants of actual house but they have found the brick foundations of an unidentified outbuilding, made of recycled 18th century brick. It has evidence of a cellar and a hearth.

According to Ruth Mitchell, the Senior Staff Archeologist, the most exciting thing found by the team is a 17th century trash pit, virtually untouched by the construction on Margaret Brent in the 1950’s. Among the objects found were pieces of pottery, tobacco pipes, and various domestic items. “They are great artifacts. They really help us understand what life was like in that period,” said Mitchell.

Also a rare find were four glass bottle seals, all from the same general location, which were dated and initialed. People of means used to place a custom-made seal on their glassware to mark them as their private bottles. All of the seals are dated 1767, but they have different initials. Two bottles may have belonged to James Adderton, a resident known from the area. The two other bottles cannot be connected to specific people. Patrick McKitrick, another archeologist on the site said, “it will take years of processing to analyze everything.”

The archeologists will continue to work on the site until June 2013. For more information on their work, visit http://www.aahallarchaeology.com. “There is a remarkable amount of preservation. It will contribute greatly to our understanding of the 17th century,” said Mitchell.

Margaret Brent Relocation Confirmed for Mid-September Date

In September, former Business Affairs office location Margaret Brent Hall will be moved on trucks across Route 5.

Announced in the Fall 2010 Planning and Facilities Newsletter, Margaret Brent Hall, the former home of the Business Affairs office before its exodus to Glendening Hall in Spring 2009, will be lifted from its former foundation near Anne Arundel Hall and placed in a designated area in what was once part of the Campus Center parking lot near the Aldom Lounge. In a speech to Waring Commons residents Aug. 29, College President Joe Urgo confirmed the relocation time of 2 a.m. on Sept. 12, the same date scheduled for the move before Hurricane Irene passed over St. Mary’s.

“I’m excited to see the move,” said Urgo. “I’m making sure to take a nap beforehand so I can stay up late for it.”

While the building is being moved late in the night to avoid as much traffic on Route 5 as possible, extra steps are being taken to prepare Margaret Brent for crossing the road. Before the night of Sept. 12, the entire building will be placed on the large transportation trucks so that the physical move can begin on time. Once set on its new foundation, the building will be inspected for stress fractures or other damages incurred during the move.

After the move takes place, Margaret Brent will undergo facilities design and renovation in preparation for its intended use as an academic building. In a presentation to Residence Life staff before the start of the semester, Facilities Planner and Sustainability Coordinator Luke Mowbray discussed potential repair of the building after the move as well as plans for wiring and sewage.
“The trench you see now is where we’re running a sewer line,” said Mowbray. “We’re also making room for a new ramp and sidewalk,” which reflect the building’s new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines approval. The ADA accessible walkway will run from the Campus Center parking lot to the north side of the Campus Center.
The interior of the building will also be modified, to include 12 offices, a lobby, a kitchenette and mail room, a 30-seat classroom, and a seminar room, according to the Office of Planning and Facilities webpage.

On September 9, a gravel parking lot will be placed near the current Campus Center parking lot in light of Margaret Brent’s new location. The current parking lot outside of the Campus Center will be expanded in the summer and fall of 2013 to make up for the loss of existing parking lots on the historic campus, due to the construction of Anne Arundel Hall. Upon completion the new lots will also be used by the Historic St. Mary’s Visitor Center to allow for additional parking which is now accommodated in a lot outside of Anne Arundel. Parking lots immediately surrounding Anne Arundel will be transformed into staging areas in June 2013 for construction vehicles during the demolition and construction process. The total expected cost of the project is $36,374,000.

The Margaret Brent relocation marks the completion of another of the College’s Capital Projects, which include the Anne Arundel Hall Replacement Project, the Route 5 Traffic Calming Project, and the Historic St. Mary’s City Woodshop and Storage Building Projects. Margaret Brent is expected to be the new location for the Philosophy and Religious Studies departments.

College Plans Several Renovations, Projects for Summer 2011

As the semester is coming to a close and students plan their summers, the Office of Planning and Facilities are making plans for their own projects.  According to Chip Jackson, associate vice president of planning and facilities, it is going to be a busy summer.

The major project planned for this summer will be Margaret Brent Hall.  After several years of talks and excavations,  Margaret Brent will be moved from its present location behind Anne Arundel Hall to the parking lot next to the Campus Center.  Margaret Brent will be the future home of the Departments of Philosophy and Religious Studies.  The move is thought to be a more economically sound choice since it will cost less to move the building then building a new one.

Jackson could not elaborate on a date other than by saying that the move will take place in June or July.  “Once [the date is] known we will publicized [it]” said Jackson, “be sure to check the website during the summer.”

Lewis Quad will also be the focus of a lot of attention. First, the LQ Eatery will open officially in its new renovated form. There has been a lot of discussions about what the space will look like.  “[It] will be very different,” Jackson commented.

Planning and Facilities has also been considering a redesign of the LQ courtyard.  “No one seems to like the gravel” said Jackson as he discussed how it might be removed.  At this time, Jackson could not expand on what form the courtyard will take since several more meetings still have to take place.  “This is a goal” remarked Jackson.

Two other projects on campus will be the renovating of the Townhouse Greens’ bathrooms and new sidewalks in several location around campus. Jackson alluded that the bathrooms in the Greens are long overdue for renovating.

In several locations, the sidewalks will be remodeled as well. This includes between Glendenning, Montgomery, and Schaefer Halls and between Goodpaster Hall and the Michael P O’Brien Athletic and Recreation Center.  These projects include putting more brick paths down while removing the concrete sidewalks that already exist. According to Jackson, the funds for these changes are coming from the state, not the College’s budget.

The sidewalk between St. John’s Pond and the Library will also be expanded to take account of the high levels of traffic along the path.  This will also help solve the problem of the muddy space that can be found along the entire path up to the Library. This project will be using College funding.

The last major task of the summer will be redesigns for Route 5.  Officially called the “Route 5 Safety and Traffic Calming Project,” this project is planned to make the crossings safer for students. “There will be a lot of community interest in this project,” said Jackson, “we want the students, who are also members of the community, to engage with us during this project.”

The project, which will be federally funded, is suppose to slow traffic that are driving along the bend in Route 5. According to Jackson, the designing will begin in the fall. The plans for this project are still in the air and Planning and Facilities are looking for student input.

“We need students,” said Jackson, “so please voice your opinions.” There will be several public meetings planned in the fall that students will be able to attend.

 

St. Mary’s Working in Tandem with HSMC

Margaret Brent Hall will soon be torn down and replaced by the new Interpretive Center. (Photo by Rowan Copley)
Margaret Brent Hall will soon be torn down and replaced by the new Interpretive Center. (Photo by Rowan Copley)

The mass exodus of administrative offices from Anne Arundel Hall and Margaret Brent Hall to Glendening Hall is only one part of a much larger restructuring of South Campus, which promises to connect the college with Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC) in beneficial new ways.

Glendening Hall, the new home of such administrative offices as Residence Life and International Education, was completed in late fall of last year to reduce the “run-around” necessary to do such things as change housing and add and drop classes, according to Assistant Vice President of Planning and Facilities Chip Jackson. Such administrative offices as Residence Life, Academic Services, International Education, and Financial Aid were moved to Glendening over winter break.

This move, however, left a large part of Anne Arundel Hall, and all of Margaret Brent hall, unused. According to Torre Meringolo, Vice President of the Office of Development, this is just one part of the college’s restructuring plans that go back to 1997 when former Governor Paris Glendening and former Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend decided to affiliate the college and HSMC through state law. In fact, this connection between the college and HSMC goes back much farther, all the way back to the College’s creation as a monument to Maryland’s first capital. Meringolo said this partnership, “Ties back to the reason the institution is even here.”

In order to further foster this relationship, the college and HSMC decided that both organizations could benefit from bringing some HSMC staff and research on-campus, and decided that South campus would be the best place to do this. In order to make this happen, however, the college needed to make room in South campus and rearrange academic departments currently in Anne Arundel and elsewhere.

Glendening and Goodpaster Hall are, in part, a result of this need. According to Jackson, these two buildings are just a part of the much larger plan. Jackson said that in the next few years students will see this restructuring plan further played out through the movement of the Religious Studies and Philosophy departments to Cobb House and the renovation or replacement of Anne Arundel. According to Meringolo, replacement is more likely because it’s more cost-effective.

Regardless of what path the college takes with Anne Arundel, the new Anne Arundel will house both archeologists and interpreters from Historic as well as the college’s Archeology, History, and Language departments. Margaret Brent Hall will also be replaced with a new Interpretive center for HSMC. According to Regina Faden, Executive Director of the HSMC commission, the interpretive center will act as the new starting point for tourists to HSMC, give them an overview and brief history of HSMC’s sights, and display rotating exhibits. Faden said that the interpretive center, “Will help to create a sense of arrival [to the city].” She added, “Right now, people aren’t always sure where the city is.”

According to Meringolo, this move and restructuring will greatly benefit students, especially Archeology, History, and Museum Studies majors. Members of the HSMC commission already teach some classes on Museum Studies, but even more opportunities will open up after the move. Students will get the chance to work along with researchers from HSMC on unlocking the secrets of colonial St. Mary’s City and learn about its history as it’s being discovered. Internship and job opportunities will also open up for those especially passionate in the study of HSMC, and students will be able to work with members of the commission on such projects as constructing the “ghost frames” that currently dot Route 5 and interpreting newly-discovered artifacts. The HSMC commission will also greatly benefit from the move, since they will get more space for their growing artifact collection.

Although on their way, many students will be unable to see the full results of these changes in their time at St. Mary’s. According to Jackson, design of the new Anne Arundel will take place this spring and the building itself won’t be completed until 2012 or 2013. Faden said the HSMC will not move into Anne Arundel and the Interpretive Center until around 2014.

Those in the administration don’t seem too bothered by the wait, and believe that the move will greatly enhance the college in the end. Meringolo’s vision is that “In 100 years St. Mary’s college [will be] recognized as being the pre-eminent undergraduate program in Anthropology in the country, or one of the great Museum studies programs in the country.”