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United States Naval Asylum

William Strickland (1827-33 / 1844)


When built, the United States Naval Asylum was one of the largest Greek Revival hospitals in the country. The Navy commissioned it to house naval officers and seaman disabled in duty. It later served as the first home of the U.S. Naval Academy.

William Strickland designed the Asylum in 1826 and modeled it after the Temple of Ilissus in Athens. When the main building (Biddle Hall) was completed in 1833, the cast-iron columns on its balconies were an early use of iron as a building material.

In 1844, the Strickland-designed residences for the Governor of Asylum and the Surgeon of the Hospital were added to the sides of the main hall.

You can learn more about the Naval Asylum at the Library Company of Philadelphia


The U.S. Naval Asylum property, including Biddle Hall, is currently being converted to a luxury residential condominium complex. While the grounds are not open to the public, the original parade ground in front of Biddle Hall, and the flanking Governor’s and Surgeon General’s residences, are to be preserved as a public space. For more information, visit the builder’s website.


Gray’s Ferry Avenue and Bainbridge Street Philadelphia, PA 19146


In the neighborhood

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