• Congress Voting Independence


    National Historical Park Pennsylvania

James Dexter Site

Photo of Archeologists clearing rubble and fill deposits from historic surfaces at the James Dexter site

Archeologists clear rubble and fill deposits from historic surfaces at the James Dexter site

NPS Photo

Stewardship of the James Dexter Site:
The Context for Decision Making on the Excavation of an Important Archeological Site

James Dexter, a free African American, lived in a small house that fronted on North Fifth Street approximately midway between Arch and Race Streets in the years from about 1790 until 1798. This site today lies within the boundaries of Independence National Historical Park on the third and most northerly block of Independence Mall where the National Constitution Center is located, a block that will be referred to in this document as Block 3. Block 3 is bounded on the north by Race Street, on the south by Arch Street, and is bounded on the east and west by North Fifth and North Sixth Streets.

The current effort to redevelop Independence Mall calls for the construction of the Independence Mall Transportation Center, a bus drop-off area, over the James Dexter site and adjacent historic lots.

Who was James Dexter?

Discovery of the Dexter Site

Archeology and the National Constitution Center

Decision to Preserve the Dexter Site

Consultation Leads to Reevaluation of Dexter Site

Excavation of James Dexter Site

Did You Know?

Photo of NPS staff with visitors at Declaration House

Thomas Jefferson wrote the rough draft of the Declaration in only a few days? He spent a period of two weeks refining it and even gave a copy to John Adams and Benjamin Franklin for their review.