Lazaretto Quarantine Station

Tinnicum Township, PA

Lazaretto: Time Line

1000 ADNative American, Lenni-Lenape, inhabitance
1643New Swedish Colony formed
  • 1st European settlement in Pennsylvania and included first government office (Printzhof) plus church, school and residences (population 250)
1655Dutch Settlement
1664English Settlement
1681Duke of York gave William Penn a deed to land located on the west side of the Delaware River, including what is now Delaware County, in gratitude for assistance given to the crown by the Penn family.
1742First Quarantine Station for City of Philadelphia built at mouth of Schuylkill River.
  • Outbreaks of epidemics throughout the colonies (ex. Smallpox killed 95% of Indians in Connecticut and 1,000 Iroquois in New York, Yellow Fever in Charleston 1699 killed 190, and 5% in 1709)
1793Yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia — 4-5,000 residents die (about 10% of population) and 17,000 left the city
1798Board of Health formed to combat epidemics.
  • Created by the state with the power to levy taxes, but controlled by Philadelphia
  • Marine City Hospital Group purchased 10 acres in Tinicum from Tom Smith
1799-1800The Lazaretto built
1802Yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia
1804John Ferguson on schooner "Monongohela Farmer" allowed 32 passengers
1820Yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia
1824Oyster boat landed in Chester and man ill with smallpox brought to Lazaretto and caused outrage among citizens (sick being carried overland to hospital)
1832Cholera epidemic
1870Brig "Home" from Jamaica was quarantined because of death of Captain. Logwood (4 days before). Cargo was taken to shore for fumigation and woman & child on board tug died of yellow fever. Eventually, the physician, nurse and quarantine master died among the twenty who contacted disease.
1871Rebuilt the long wharf (280') and repaired the government warehouse for storage of quarantined cargo. Population of Tinicum was 125
1872pressure to move the quarantine station to a location farther from Philadelphia petition signed by those in Delaware County to sell Lazaretto, buy little Tinicum Island and built quarantine station there. Died in the legislature.
1880Federal government took over the quarantine function from individual states.
1884Federal government established a quarantine station, Delaware Breakwater Quarantine Hospital, Lewes Delaware.
1891Formal anti-Lazaretto campaign.
1893Federal government establishes Reedy Island disinfectant station. (Lazaretto was state inspection station, Reedy island was Federal)
1894Year ending June, 1578 vessels inspected (but was this at the Tinicum location)
1895Lazaretto Property is officially vacated and facilities at Marcus Hook were up and running.
1895–1912(?)Lazaretto served as "The Orchard Club," recreational facilities
  • owned by the Philadelphia Athletic Club
  • had grape arbors ran from clubhouse to waters edge and tennis courts
1913Essington School of Flying
  • Col. Robert C. Glendinning and George C. Thomas taught the sons of wealthy men such as Pew
1913Quarantine inspections centralized at Marcus Hook State (up to then there had been duplication of inspections by both State and Federal stations)
1915Philadelphia Seaplane Base, pioneered in seaplane flying
1916Taken over by the Army Signal Corps to train a squadron of flyers (Chambers Field) The Lazaretto served as barracks and headquarters
191745th and 143rd Aero Squadrons. (William C. Ocker, pioneer of instrument flying)
1919State ended their function in inspections
After WWIleased from Phila by Frank Mills for Essington Aviation School
1936purchased by Frank Mills and continues as seaplane base
1937Mills began to lease the southwestern 1.32 acres of the Lazaretto Property containing the Physician's House and Barn to the Riverside Yacht Club
1972placed on the National Register of Historic Places
2000Robert Mills sells to Island Marine Partners
2005Island Marine Partners sell to Tinicum Township
2006Threatened with massive development and destruction of the Lazaretto site.
2006Out of court settlement reached to the dispute between the township and historic groups over the protection of the historic resources and the construction of a new firehouse complex on the site