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


For nearly a century and a half, Reed Hall – designed in 1862 by J. W. Kerr according to prevailing recommendations for asylum construction by reformer Thomas Story Kirkbride – dominated the grounds of Dixmont State Hospital in Allegheny County, near Pitts­burgh. Founded originally as the Western Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane in 1853, the facility occupied four hundred acres overlooking the Ohio River. Dorothea Dix, a tireless crusader for the compassionate care of the mentally ill for whom the complex was later named, selected the site for the entirely self-sufficient facility. Entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, the hospital closed in 1984. Reed Hall ravaged by fire in 1996, is being demolished to make room for a superstore.



The Lazaretto, in Essington, Delaware County, was built in 1799 as a quarantine station for ships sailing up the Delaware River to Philadelphia, which had been plagued by epidemics of yellow fever, cholera, and smallpox. Nearly a quarter-million European immigrants and African slaves passed through the facility before it closed in 1880. In 1893, the Philadelphia Athletic Club purchased the Lazaretto as a riverside resort for its wealthy members. It emerged in 1915 as the Philadelphia Seaplane Base, and two years later it was converted to a World War I aviation training center. It resumed use as a seaplane base in 1936. The Lazaretto was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 for its architectural significance and association with early public health care.