Texas Historical Commission
At the request of the Texas Department of Transportation, an intensive archeological survey was conducted by Atkins North America, Inc. (Atkins) for the proposed road improvements for U.S. Highway (US) 59 from State Highway (SH) 71 to Business 59 north of El Campo, Wharton County, Texas. The proposed project will extend from the intersection of US 59 and SH 71 to the intersection of US 59 and Business 59 north of El Campo. It will have a total length of roughly 3.1 miles (5.0 kilometers) and range from 320 to 1,370 feet (98 to 417.5 meters) in width. The proposed project will include roughly 133 acres (53.8 hectares) of existing right of way (ROW) and will require approximately 63.5 acres (25.7 hectares) of new ROW. The intensive pedestrian survey was conducted by Atkins personnel on February 19–21, 2014. Due to access issues at the time of the survey, 6.4 acres (2.6 hectares) of the total 63.5 acres of new ROW were unable to be surveyed. These parcels were visually inspected from the existing ROW.
One previously unrecorded archeological site, 41WH132, was located and recorded during the survey. Site 41WH132 represents a surface scatter of historic domestic debris, likely dating to the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century. The archival evidence suggests site 41WH132 was associated with occupation and/or use of the associated property by the extended Olof Adling family during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century followed by the Pierce family during the mid-twentieth century. The Adlings and Ellwoods were among the first families of Swedish origin to settle in the El Campo area during the late nineteenth century.
The site’s association with this ethnic group’s settlement in the area suggests it could be significant under Criterion A for its association with community development patterns. Additionally, the survey level research suggests the Adlings were locally significant as they were associated with the recruitment of other Swedish migrants to the area from the northern United States during this period. As a result, the site could warrant National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) consideration under Criterion B. Despite its potential eligibility for its historic associations, there are no structural remnants at the site that require evaluation under NRHP Criterion C. In addition, given the age of the underlying soils and the depth of agricultural disturbance, the site does not retain sufficient integrity to provide additional information about the occupants or Swedish settlement in general for NRHP inclusion under Criterion D or State Antiquities Landmark designation under 13 TAC 26.10. No further archeological investigations are recommended for site 41WH132 or the parcels covered by the current survey.
The work was conducted under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 6770. No artifacts were collected, and all project records and photographs will be curated at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin.
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