The Journal of Philadelphia Waterfront Heritage & Archaeology

Current Issue: Volume 1 2016

“Good for a Drink or Segar”: A Story of One Family, Two Saloons, and a Prizefighter

By Thomas J. Kutys and Samuel A. Pickard

A Curious Artifact

The excavation of Feature 312 at Fishtown’s Gunner’s Run South Site during the summer of 2012 produced an unusual artifact, the significance of which became evident as research progressed (fig. 1). An upper stratum of the feature yielded a red vulcanite (hard rubber) token that read on its face, “ARTHUR CHAMBERS’ / 922 RIDGE AV. / AND / 917 & 919 WOOD ST. / PHILAD’A. / ‘CHAMPION’S REST.’” Who was Arthur Chambers and what was “Champion’s Rest”? First perceived to be a merchant’s advertising token, this artifact took on an added dimension when we flipped it over. The reverse of the token read, “SPARRING / GOOD / FOR / A / DRINK / OR / SEGAR / ACADEMY” (fig. 2). A sparring academy that sold alcohol and cigars? We had to know more.