Treasure #47 Boot scraper

Boot scraper

Boot scraper

This 19th century boot scraper was found at 538 Central Avenue during a 2009 demolition. Remember, cities then were full of unpaved muddy streets, horses (and horse manure), and general gutter trash.  Boot scrapers removed muck from shoe bottoms, reducing the amount of filth tracked inside. This one was installed in Joseph Morrill’s elegant new house (ca. 1830) at the corner of Fifth Street and Central Avenue. Morrill (1796—1871) was an entrepreneur who constructed two huge commercial blocks between Second and Third Streets (the Morrill Blocks) and whose family donated the Morrill Fountain in Upper Square in his memory. The boot scraper has an eagle mark stamped “J. Winkley” and might be attributable to local shoemaker Jeremiah Winkley.

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