Arts & Culture

Old North Church to Conduct Archaeological Field Study

Clough House and location of the Captain Jackson’s Colonial Chocolate Shop ( photo)

City Archaeologist Joseph Bagley of the Boston Landmarks Commission will begin an intensive archaeological survey on the campus of the Old North Church on Thursday, May 16. The Clough House dates to around 1715 and is currently the fifth-oldest extant structure in the City of Boston. Old North is hosting the dig as part of a project to build a new path to the rear entrance of the Clough House, which currently holds two living history exhibitions, The Print Shop of Edes and Gill, and Captain Jackson’s Colonial Chocolate Shop. The Old North Church campus is a conglomeration of several historic properties, is National Register listed, and a National Historic Landmark.

The Clough House at 21 Unity Street was built between 1711 and 1716 and is one of two houses built by master mason Ebenezer Clough the mason who built the Old North Church. A second house at 19 Unity Street was demolished in 1939 to build the extension of the Prado behind the church. 19 Unity Street was known as “Franklin’s Sisters’ House” and was the only house in Boston owned by Benjamin Franklin. His oldest sister, Elizabeth Franklin Douse lived there before the American Revolution and his youngest sister, Jane Franklin Mecom, lived there after the Revolution. The open space immediately behind the Clough House is one of the few areas in the North End that has remained relatively undisturbed since the colonial era.

“I am very excited to announce our first archaeological survey of 2013. The project is feet from the Freedom Trail, and there are great spots to watch the progress, so anyone is welcome to come watch the dig,” said City Archaeologist Joseph Bagley, Boston Landmarks Commission.

Bagley will dig ten test holes, each measuring approximately one meter square, over the next two weeks. The archaeological survey will identify any preserved archaeological deposits within the immediate vicinity of the rear of the Clough House, and document the preservation of this particular project area. Weather permitting; archaeologists will be at work on May 16-18, 20, 21, 23-25, and 28 and throughout early June until the work is completed. The Old North campus will remain open during the dig and the public is welcome to observe and ask questions.

The Old North Foundation would like to thank Mayor Menino, the City of Boston, the Massachusetts Historical Commission, and the Freedom Trail Foundation for providing the technical support and funding to make this dig possible.

Old North Church Historic Site & Gift Shop Hours: The Old North Church historic site and Gift Shop, located along Boston’s Freedom Trail is open to the public 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Captain Jackson’s Colonial Chocolate Shop and the Printing Office of Edes and Gill located in the Clough House, are open to visitors Saturdays and Sundays now through June 15, and seven days a week beginning June 16 through October 31.

Admission to all Old North attractions are free however donations are encouraged and help support the mission of the Old North Foundation. For more information on the Old North Church or the Old North Foundation, visit

About The Old North Foundation:

The Old North Foundation is the secular, non-profit organization responsible for the preservation, restoration and operation of the Old North historic site, and to creating educational and interpretive programs for over half a million students and visitors annually.

About the Freedom Trail® Foundation

The Freedom Trail® Foundation is dedicated to marketing, promoting and helping to preserve the Freedom Trail through varied tourist services and activities, educational programs, and marketing and public relations efforts. Marked by a red brick or painted line, Boston’s 2.5-mile Freedom Trail connects 16 of the country’s most significant historical landmarks weaving its way through Boston’s proud past in the midst of this vital, modern city. The Freedom Trail Foundation Preservation Fund supports preservation, rehabilitation and capital projects for official Freedom Trail sites which help avoid, minimize or mitigate adverse effects of the elements and manmade wear and tear of Boston’s precious 17th, 18th, and 19th century sites. For Freedom Trail Foundation information, please call 617.357.8300 or visit