An archaeological dig scheduled next month behind the Ealy House could uncover a bit of history.

The dig, a joint effort by New Albany-based engineering firm EMH&T and the New Albany-Plain Township Historical Society, will begin at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 4 at the Ealy House, 6359 E. Dublin-Granville Road.

Of interest is a pile of debris and bricks that could be the foundations of a long-forgotten outhouse, making the site a possible location for historical artifacts discarded nearby in refuse piles, said Ealy House curator Nancy Ferguson.

Although the Ealy House was built in 1860, photos from the 1940s show various buildings behind the house, she said. Although the historical society has no photos of an outhouse, anecdotal evidence from a man who was born in the Ealy House says otherwise, she said.

Rackie Campbell, a member of the Doran family, was born at the Ealy House, Ferguson said.

Before he died a couple of years ago, the historical society recorded interviews with him and he spoke of a two-seater, brick outhouse.

"Outhouses are really interesting, I think," Ferguson said.

Before the days of trash collection, people would dump their trash near their outhouse, she said.

The trash would be burned and anything that wasn't destroyed was left to slowly sink into the ground, covered by more refuse, she said.

Similar digs have been conducted near outhouses at other historic sites, Ferguson said.

"At places like Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's plantation in Virginia) and other historic houses, they have learned so much by finding the trash pile and doing an archaeological dig," she said.

Catherine Gullett, an archaeologist at EMH&T, will participate in the dig along with her colleague, Joel Brown.

EMH&T will perform the service free, Gullett said, as a part of an initiative to increase the firm's volunteer work.

"It's just our way to give back to New Albany," she said.

If an outhouse is confirmed, Ferguson said, the information could be shared with students who visit Ealy House for tours. The outhouse even might be reconstructed so students can see what the structure would have looked like in the days before indoor plumbing, she said.

Ealy House history

In 1830, John Henry Ealy bought the land on which Ealy House stands today, Ferguson said.

He built a small brick house behind the current structure as well as a water-powered sawmill on Rose Run, about 100 yards from the house, she said.

After John Henry died in 1845, he left his land to George Ealy, who built the Ealy House in 1860, Ferguson said.

George Ealy's son, David Ealy, in 1895 sold Ealy House to the Doran family, who lived in the house for more than 100 years.

The New Albany Co. eventually became the owner of the Ealy House, Ferguson said.

In 2004, the historical society traded the Kern-Harrington House at 107 E.Dublin-Granville Road to the New Albany Co. for the Ealy House, she said.

The Kern-Harrington House became part of the Wexner estate, she said.

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