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Table 1. Patent Office Building Site Chronology.

Date(s) Event Potential archaeological evidence
pre-1792 Land within holdings of Robert Burns None known.
1791 L’Enfant plan designates this location as a site for a national church This use was never realized.
1797 King Plats record site as Reservation 8, as approved by Washington Location was designated by L’Enfant in his 1791 plan as the ideal site for a national church, though this use was never realized.
ca. 1800 “Mr. Orr” reportedly lives in an “old frame house” on this site (Hines1866:31) Possible remnants of late­eighteenthlearly-nineteenth-century domestic occupation.
July 1836 Ground breaking for the Patent Office; construction on South Wing begins Re-deposited soils, builder’s trenches. Note: there is no sub-grade basement below this wing.
July 1836-40 South Wing construction takes place along southern end of Reservation 8 Construction debris may have been deposited in current courtyard area (stone chips [granite, Aquia sandstone], copper sheeting, brick, mortar, copper and iron nails).
1841-77 Fireplaces used for space heating Ash pits.
1842 Funds requested by Robert Mills for the “grading and paving of the grounds, and erecting privies &c.” Funding slashed, but privies were presumably built prior to building’s occupation Privies in Washington were not dug; therefore, not likely to leave archaeological evidence; additional recommended site work was not completed at this time.
1842-45 50-foot-long greenhouse erected north of South Wing 1842); extended 20 feet (1843);            extended 78 feet  (1844); cold-frame constructed, 1845 (Evelyn 1985:236) The exact location of this greenhouse is not known; it is likely that it would have been located on the approximate location of the later North Wing to prevent the greenhouse from sitting within the shadow cast by the South Wing.
1851-52 Coal and wood burning boilers and furnaces installed Ash pits.
1849-52 East Wing constructed  
1852-56 West Wing constructed Re-deposited soils, builder’s trenches. Construction debris may have been deposited in current courtyard area (stone chips [granite, marble], copper sheeting, brick, mortar, copper and iron nails).
1853  Gas lines installed Pipe trenches may be in courtyard, though it is more likely that lines were run through the building.
July 1854 Robert Mills proposes a planting plan for the East Wing (street side) composed of formal grass parterres with geometric, axially aligned round planting beds or fountains. It is similar to the simple geometric plan employed in the courtyard for which no records of plans or date of installation exist. The simple geometric layout proposed in the 1850s for the East Wing makes a case for the central courtyard as being of a similar vintage. The first photograph illustrating the courtyard dates to ca. 1867 (see entry for ca. post-1867 below).
1857-1867 North Wing constructed Re-deposited soils, builder’s trenches. Construction debris may have been deposited in current courtyard area (stone chips fgranite, marble], copper sheeting, brick, mortar, copper and iron nails).
1861-63 Portion of building occupied as Civil War hospital East, North and West Wings used as hospital. The level of use of the courtyard for such purposes as medical waste disposal is unknown (Evelyn 1997:412:414).
1861-62 Portion of building used as barracks West Wing used as barracks. The level of use of the courtyard for such purposes as waste disposal or encampment is unknown (Evelyn 1997 :412-414).
Ca. post-1867 Courtyard landscaping An early photo illustrates the simple geometric landscaping of the courtyard: flag or bluestone walks dividing grassy squares. No evidence suggests that any more elaborate scheme was ever employed. Grading may have been done to create a flat surface. See also above entry for July 1854.
1873  Streets around the building are lowered approximately 3.7 meters (about 12 feet), forcing reconfiguration of entrance porticos Difference in grade between courtyard and current streets may be useful in determining approximate original grades.
September 24, 1877 Fire destroys upper floor and roof of North and West Wings Fire debris (may include pieces of destroyed models, charred wood, broken window glass); destruction/demolition debris; reconstruction debris.
1877-1888 Reconstruction and renovation, all wings Destruction/demolition debris; reconstruction debris (stone, mortar, brick, window glass).
July 30, 1913 Storm breaks 220 skylights Broken window glass.
1936-40 Alterations, including slag roof, copper flashing, slate roof on gable end of West Wing Debris from alterations/renovations.
1963-65 Demolition and alterations Debris from extensive removal of historic and non-historic fabric.
1960s Courtyard rehabilitated fountains; returned to working order Two fountains had been filled with earth at an unspecified date. New piping may have been required to return the fountains to use, so pipe trenches may be located in the courtyard. Walks largely retained;some removed, some reconfigured.
1968 Opening ceremony, involving temporary pavilion Probably minimal impact.
1975 Handicap access improvements Flagstone reset in front of F street court entrance; grade filled slightly to accommodate ramp slope; other stones reset to level.
1975 PVC pipe for fountain Pipe trench.
1975 Concrete walk removed; replaced with flagstone Some filling would be required to bring flagstone to grade. Concrete walk is of unknown vintage.
1980-81 Courtyard elevations raked, cleaned and re-pointed with Portland cement, lime, sand mortar Mortar debris.
1988 Proposal for bluestone and slate paving in courtyard re-laid; cast iron drains installed; new wiring; some existing storm drain piping removed Unknown what if any of this work was completed. Possible filling, grading; pipe trenches.