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The Grove Cistern

Construction in 2011 revealed the location of a ca. 1840 masonry cistern (tank for collecting rainwater) located behind the Call-Collins House. This and other cisterns and water-collecting devices provided water for residents for cooking, cleaning, and other daily tasks until city lines reached the property in the early 20th century.

Excavations of the cistern, built by enslaved artisan brick masons at the same time as the house, revealed many artifacts illustrating daily life on the site as well as the skills of its builders. The cistern essentially became a garbage pit shortly after it was no longer used for its original purpose of providing water to the household. As a result, archaeologists uncovered many 19th and 20th century artifacts, some of which are currently on display inside the museum. Among the artifacts found were military dog tags, glassware, ceramics, and toys.

Learn more about the excavation of The Grove's cistern here:

Archaeologists recovered few intact items from the cistern at The Grove. This small decorative dish is an exception and likely dates from the late 1800s or early 1900s. Photo by Roy Lett, courtesy of the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research

Other artifacts found in the historic cistern at The Grove included glass, ceramics, and metal fragments dating from the early 1800s to the 20th-century. Photo by Roy Lett, courtesy of the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research