Epidemic Philadelphia Seen From Twelve Miles Downriver, 220 Years Ago and Today

Watch ONLINE via ZOOM from the safety and comfort of your home. A link with instructions will be provided one hour prior to this virtual lecture. 

"The Lazaretto: Epidemic Philadelphia Seen From Twelve Miles Downriver, 220 Years Ago and Today"

presented by David Barnes, Associate Professor in the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

This presentation introduces participants to Philadelphia’s Lazaretto quarantine station, which guarded the city against the introduction of imported epidemic diseases throughout the nineteenth century. Built beginning in 1799 after four devastating yellow fever epidemics in seven years, the Lazaretto served as a riverfront sentinel and a daily battleground in which the city’s determination to protect itself confronted the imperative of ensuring the free flow of commerce through what was at the time the nation’s busiest seaport and largest city. The history of the quarantine station, its afterlives as a country club and a seaplane base, and its twenty-first-century preservation and rebirth provide a new perspective on Philadelphia’s tumultuous growth, its treatment of immigrants, and its conflicted present-day relationship to its past. Our guides on this journey include a nine-year-old African girl enslaved and freed within the space of a couple of months, an eleven-year-old orphan boy who found himself accused of starting an epidemic, and a group of German immigrants who started a riot at the Lazaretto, then later reported that they couldn’t have asked for better treatment anywhere.


$15 | General Admission

$10 | Alliance Member 

Free | Students*

If you have been affected by the pandemic and would like to attend this virtual lecture but cannot afford to do so, please email Jennifer Robinson jennifer@preservationalliance.com for complimentary access.

*Email photo of valid student ID to Jennifer Robinson to receive student discount code.

View speaker schedule at https://www.preservationalliance.com/fall-speaker-series/.