New slate roof graces Pennsylvania Hospital’s Pine Building

America’s first public hospital sits at the corner of 8th and Pine streets, and its oldest wing is getting a new slate roof.

The East Wing of Pennsylvania Hospital’s Pine Building has had scaffolding around it for a few weeks, and crews are busy installing long-lasting slate shingles and copper flashing. Work is expected to be finished in November, before winter weather sets in.

The roofing project is part two of a multi-million dollar phased restoration project  geared at Pine Building’s long-term preservation, overseen by S. Harris Ltd. The hospital’s “Save the Pine” campaign has raised millions to restore the Pine Building, including repairs to woodwork, windows, cornices, masonry, and the roof. The campaign was also awarded a $350,000 matching grant from the Save America’s Treasures national grant program.

The Pine Building has stood at 8th and Pine since 1756, and has been in hospital use since then. The hospital was established in 1751 by Dr. Thomas Bond and Benjamin Franklin to care for the sick and mentally ill. The Pine Building includes the surgical amphitheater made famous by Thomas Eakins’ The Gross Clinic. It is included in the Society Hill Historic District, and was individually designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965.

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