Lazaretto Lazaretto
Source: NEPA News
Date: August 22, 2005
Byline: AP

Officials in Tinicum Township, Delaware County, are being credited with preserving a historic 19th century hospital that once housed immigrants under quarantine.

Township officials saved the Lazaretto Quarantine Station, in use from 1800 to 1890, from the wrecking ball, and now plan to renovate the property. Their efforts have earned the applause of preservationists.

In 2000, the isolation hospital was sold to a developer that planned to raze the building. Township Manager Norbert Poloncarz, state Rep. Ron Raymond and other officials began searching grant money to purchase it.

In April, state officials approved two grants so save the facility: $2 million for the Lazaretto, and $3.5 million for construction of a fire station on hospital grounds.

The hospital was the first stop for immigrants bound for Philadelphia. Officials would board the ship looking for immigrants exhibiting signs of a communicable disease. If anyone with symptoms was discovered, the entire ship was quarantined. The Lazaretto closed as a hospital in 1890, but then served as a resort and sea plane base before World War I.