This 1835 lithograph by George Lehman shows the Blockley Alms House in Philadelphia, as seen from Hyde Park on the east bank of the Schuylkill River. The view shows the riverbanks where two men fish and cows graze. A two-masted sailing ship passes by, with other ships on the river and the sprawling city stretched out in the background. William Strickland (1788–1854), a founder of Greek Revival architecture in the United States, designed the quadrangle of four large buildings that formed the almshouse. The original Philadelphia Alms House was constructed in the early 1730s and was the first multifunctional government-sponsored institution for the care of the poor in America. In addition to housing and feeding the poor, it offered an infirmary and hospital for the sick and the insane, a workhouse, and an orphanage. When the original almshouse became overcrowded, the authorities chose a sizable undeveloped parcel of land in Blockley, west of the city center, for the new structure, which was completed in 1833. George Lehman (circa 1800–70) was a Swiss-born landscape artist, engraver, and lithographer, who in 1824 immigrated to the United States with his family, several of whom were also stonecutters.
References: George Lehman, Philadelphia on Stone Biographical Dictionary, Library Company of Philadelphia, http://www.lcpdigital.org. | Philadelphia on Stone Biographical Dictionary of Lithographers, http://www.librarycompany.org/pos/posdictionary.htm.
Note: Digital catalog number: POS 805
Place: North America; United States of America; Pennsylvania; Philadelphia
Institution: The Library Company of Philadelphia
Physical description: 1 print : lithograph ; 22 x 29 centimeters