Lazaretto Lazaretto

PHMC Letter to Tinicum Commission, July 13, 2006

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
Bureau for Historic Preservation
Commonwealth Keystone Building, 2nd floor
400 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0093
www.phmc.state.pa.us

July 13, 2006

Commissioners of Tinicum Township
Attn: Norbert Poloncarz
Memorial Building
629 N. Gov. Printz Blvd.
Essington, PA 19029-1732

ER#00-2573-045-F
Development of the Lazaretto Property
Tinicum Township, Delaware County

Dear Mr. Poloncarz

The Bureau for Historic Preservation has reviewed the above named project under the authority of the Environmental Rights amendment, Article 1, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution and the Pennsylvania History Code, 37 Pa. Cons. Stat. Section 500 et seq (1988). This review includes comments on the project's potential effect on both historic and archaeological resources. Our comments are as follows.

Historic Resources

It is our opinion that the construction of a fire station/evacuation center will adversely affect the historic and architectural qualities of the National Register listed Lazaretto. The proposed size of the new construction and the location will overwhelm the historic building as well as obscure it. We strongly recommend that you consider and continue to seek an alternative site for the new faculty or an alternative design that will not obscure the historic Lazaretto.

You will need to continue to consult with the Bureau for Historic Preservation to seek ways to avoid or reduce the effects on this historic property. We urge the Township to identify and consult with interested parties such as the National Park Service, the County Planning Department and the Greater Philadelphia Preservation Alliance. These groups have expertise and knowledge that can assist the Township in its efforts to preserve the Lazaretto. They may well be able to support an application from the Township to local foundations to purchase another property on which to build the Fire House.

Consultation with the Bureau will also need to continue in regards to the stabilization of the Lazaretto. In order to prevent further deterioration of this historic property, the Township must take steps to repair the roof at a minimum and moth ball the building until funding can be obtained to rehabilitate it. Enclosed you will find a Preservation brief on mothballing historic properties.

Archaeological Resources

Based on the results of the geophysical and archaeological investigations conducted for this project, we agree with the recommendation that no further archaeological work is necessary for Geophysical Anomalies A-2 through A-12. Project activities in these areas should have no effect on significant archaeological resources.

However, it is our understanding that Geophysical Anomaly A-1, believed to be a cemetery, will be completely avoided by project related activities and will be preserved in place. The area of the cemetery should be demarcated and the installation of interpretive signage discussing the history and significance of the Lazaretto is appropriate.

The archaeological report indicates that areas not archaeologically tested to date, specifically, areas near extant structures and areas close to the Delaware River, have considerable archeological potential. In our opinion these areas should be avoided by all project related ground disturbing activities and preserved in place. If any ground disturbing activities are proposed in the future in any portions of the property that have no [sic] been subject to archaeological testing, an appropriate archaeological workplan should be developed, submitted to our office for review and comment and implemented. If potentially significant archaeological deposits are identified, an avoidance or mitigation plan should be developed, submitted for comment and implemented.

If you have any questions or comments concerning historic resources, please contact Ann Safley at (717) 787-9121. If you have any questions or comments concerning archaeological resources, please contact Mark Shaffer at (717) 783-9900.

Sincerely,

Joan H. Cutler
Director