Lost and Found features brief profiles of historic landmarks and structures, one lost and one saved.

Lost

Designed by eminent American architect Alexander Jackson Davis (1803–1892) for Bucks County’s first institution of higher education, Bristol College, in Croydon, White Hall was completed in 1835. The college closed two years later, and the stately Greek Revival-style building passed through the hands of several owners and was used for a variety of purposes from 1837 until the American Civil War, when it served as a hospital for wounded Union soldiers. In 1868, the Philadelphia branch of the Freedman’s Aid Society purchased the 13-acre property on the banks of the Delaware River and enrolled 168 students in the Commonwealth’s only publicly-funded orphanage established exclusively for children of African American veterans. The Bridgewater School operated until the mid-1880s. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, the building was razed because of its poor condition.

 

Found

A native of Georgia, African American physician Whittier C. Atkinson (1893–1991) graduated in 1924 from Howard University Medical School, Washington, D.C., and three years later established a medical practice in Coatesville, Chester County. In 1936, Atkinson built a five-bed hospital, the Clement Atkinson Memorial Hospital, named in honor of his father. The hospital admitted all patients, regardless of ethnicity or the ability to pay. The facility expanded over the years, increasing the number of beds and types of services, and became a vital asset to the community. In 1960, the Pennsylvania Medical Society named Atkinson “General Practitioner of the Year,” the first African American to receive the prestigious award. The hospital closed in 1977, and the building, known now as the W. C. Atkinson Memorial Community Service Center, provides social service programs to the area. As part of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s annual theme for 2010, “Black History in Pennsylvania: Communities in Common,” the building will be nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.