Saving History: The Dig
Due to the historical nature of its location, The Banks project site is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Because of its location, the construction impacted archaeological deposits associated with the site. To salvage any artifacts and important historical discoveries, the City of Cincinnati contracted Gray & Pape, Inc. to conduct archaeological investigations for the HAM—The Banks Street Grid Project with the lead agency being the Ohio Department of Transportation.
In May 2010, Gray & Pape, Inc., excavated at the former NE corner of Water and Race Streets—in the approximate center of the parking lot—where 116 and 118 Water Street once stood. These buildings were constructed in the early 1850s but were demolished at the turn of the twentieth century to make way for a new railroad project. A railroad depot sat at the NE corner of Water and Race Streets until the 1960s, when it was removed for stadium construction and parking lots.
Dating between 1850 and 1900, the artifacts recovered during The Banks dig show that the residents of 116 and 118 Water Street were engaged in local, regional, and international markets. The excavation of this small portion of what was once the heart of Cincinnati supports and enhances our knowledge of nineteenth-century Cincinnati itself—when Cincinnati was at its zenith of production and distribution.