By Yadira Betances
---- — LAWRENCE — Students in the city’s International High School recently got a first-hand lesson on Lawrence’s early history.
History teacher Whimper Barahona took 12 of his students to the Lawrence Heritage State Park to view artifacts from the 1800’s found at Campagnone Common last year when the area was being prepared to place the Striker’s Monument, honoring 100th anniversary of the Textile Strike of 1912, commonly known as the Bread and Roses strike.
“As we were doing the work, I kept on looking and kicking back with my feet to see what else I could find,” said Jonas Stundzia, who cochairs the monument committee with David Meehan, a retired Lawrence High arts teacher.
Artifacts include olive, aqua green and black blown glass, pottery, coal chunks and cinder, medicine bottles, metal rings from an oil lamp, a clay pipe, clay inkwell, and pieces of dishes.
The items are now on display at the Visitor’s Center of the Lawrence Heritage State Park, 1 Jackson St. through the end of the month.
This is part of “Foundations of the Past” archaeological month being celebrated nationally.
“It gives you a glimpse of what life was like 150 years ago,” Stundzia said.
Some teenagers took photos with their iPhones, while Studzia pointed to the items on display at a table and described what they were. After Eliana Martinez, history and AP Spanish teacher at the International High School translated students “Ooh” “Aah” and “Wow.” echoed throughout the Visitor’s Center.
Taking each item individually, Stundzia explained their origin and use. Black glass was used to store medicine because the light did not penetrate the bottles. There is another medicine bottle with a cork possibly because the person trying to uncork it could not and push it right in. Stundzia and Meehan also found a 1877 bottle from Currier & Joyce Co., liquor dealer and bottlers of ginger ale, sodas and lagers from 1877 to 1960.
“I was very happy when I found the pipe,” he said referring to the white clay smoking device from McDougall, which manufactured thousands of pipes in the 19th century.
“In the old days, people had ash buckets and threw anything in there they didn’t want, smoking pipes, broken plates, and bottles. They collected the buckets and the park became like a landfill,” Stundzia said. “That’s why the city decided to use the space as a common and not as a garden.”
Stundzia said the Essex Company deeded the 17-acres of space to the city to use as open space. Engineer Charles S. Storrow consulted with famed architectural designer Frederick Law Olmsted and filled the marshland area with debris and black soil.
“When you’re digging in your backyard to plant vegetables, see what you can pull up,” Stundzia told students after his presentation. “When you find something, take good care of it because it can be valuable and shed light on the past.”