Site of the Offices of the Secretary of State and the Clerk of the Supreme Court
Trenton, Mercer County, New Jersey
Security improvements at the New Jersey State House in 2006 included ground disturbance in and alongside West State Street, in areas where archival research indicated a high likelihood that significant historical remains would be encountered. Substantial remains of the offices of the Secretary of State and the Clerk of the Supreme Court and a related brick-lined privy shaft were encountered in front of the east side of the West State Street fade of the State House. A limited program of archaeological data recovery was undertaken in late March and early April of 2006 to investigate and document these remains.
The office of the Secretary of State and the Clerk of the Supreme Court, New Jersey first public office building, was constructed in 1795-96 and remained in use until the mid-1840s. The overall 46 by 28-foot footprint of this one-story stuccoed stone building was documented and significant parts of the cellars at both ends of the buildings, along with the remains of at least one front entry stoop and one exterior basement entry, were found to survive. The project report recommended the preservation of these remains and their interpretive treatment at street level.
Some 45 feet to the rear of the office building, the remains of a brick-lined privy shaft were documented. This feature was identified as part of the State House necessary, a rest room facility erected in the summer of 1797.
The discoveries became the subject of a press event at which all three branches of state government were represented.
More information on the site is available from the New Jersey State Archives