Texas Historical Commission
Raba Kistner Environmental, Inc. (RKEI) was contracted by Muñoz & Company (CLIENT) to conduct archaeological monitoring association with the proposed partial demolition of a historic cistern located within the footprint but under the floor of the historic Stegman Building, in Brownsville’s Historic Downtown District, Cameron County, Texas.
The monitoring was requested by the Texas Historical Commission (THC) and was initiated by the fact that the age of the cistern feature and its association with the Stegman Building was not clearly known. The Stegman Building, the Area of Potential Effect (APE), is located at the intersection of East 11th Street and East Washington Streets, in downtown Brownsville. Figure 1 depicts the APE on the East Brownsville (2597-433) USGS 7.5 Minute Quadrangle Map.
The Stegman Building was erected in 1912 and is named for Baldwin G. Stegman, who came to Brownsville in 1905 and was an investor in the city’s first streetcar line. Plans call for the School of Music of the University Of Texas Rio Grande Valley to move its music academy into the renovated building.
The cistern was uncovered during on-going rehabilitation of the building and while it was suspected that the feature was not functionally related to the Stegman Building this was not established with certainly prior to the need to partially demolish the feature. Since the Stegman Building is a historic property, therefore, the archaeological monitoring and related services were requested by the THC to document the construction methods and morphology of the feature and collect temporally diagnostic artifacts that may document the age of the feature. In addition, archival research was to also be carried out to compile additional information related to the approximate year of construction of the cistern and its relationship to homesteads that stood nearby.
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