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Old Main, Crozer-Chester Medical Center (Upland Normal School)

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Upland Normal School
1857, Samuel Sloan. 21st St. and Upland Ave.

Sponsored by Chester textile manufacturer John Crozer, the Upland Normal School was founded in an attempt to support an intellectual presence in Chester after the removal of the county seat. Here, Sloan followed his customary plan of a central cupola on a symmetrical block but added an up-to-date note with the geometric pilasters that articulate the base. The Civil War caused the institution to close, leading to its adaptation by John McArthur Jr. as a military hospital. After the war it reverted to private use but was unable to attract sufficient students to prosper. With the removal of the Pennsylvania Military Academy from West Chester in Chester County, it served as the temporary home of that institution while their new building was constructed in Chester ( DE3). It was then converted to serve as the Crozer Theological Seminary, which was affiliated with the American Baptist denomination. Several buildings from that period still remain including a number of faculty residences and a handsome green serpentinite cruciform library, Pearl Hall (paid for by Philadelphia industrialist William Bucknell, who gave a library to the Lewisburg Baptist College, later renamed for him). Upland Normal School's most famous graduate was the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., who lived in Old Main as a student and graduated with the class of 1951. When the school closed it was acquired by the Crozer-Chester Hospital, which is now the city's largest employer.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Old Main, Crozer-Chester Medical Center (Upland Normal School)", [Chester, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 217-217.

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