Gilliland Laboratories- Ambler, PA

The coronavirus is happening and rising in the United States, and I thought this would be appropriate to post this:


It turns out there was a laboratory located minutes away from my house. That laboratory was called the "Gilliland Laboratories." It's located not too far from the Broad Axe Tavern along Butler Pike. It was considered the oldest biological laboratories in the nation. It was also considered the first to produce smallpox vaccine.


It started in Marietta, PA, then transferred in Ambler, PA in 1916. Coincidentally, the map I looked at dated back to 1916, showing the lab. What's even cooler is that the main building and its wing building (maybe), are still standing today, and are currently used and occupied by a local resident (Notice the L shape of the building). The laboratory and barn around the building are gone, unfortunately. The main building was used for doing the small pox vaccine. Details of the 2 buildings are on the last photo posted on the bottom.


It's possible that the lab purchased the property.


Fun Fact: The first woman member at the Ambler lab was named Edna Heacock. She worked there in 1919, but left a year later to work at Squibb’s Laboratories in New Brunswick, NJ as a bacteriologist. She was a graduate at Mount Holyoke College in 1911.


Pennsylvania Historic Resource Survey Form


Google Satellite Map: Birds-eye view looking NE
Google Satellite Plan View; 543 Butler Pike, Ambler, PA 19002; Compare this map to the 1916 map. It's amazing how this building still exist and the pathway
Atlas of the North Penn Section of Montgomery County, Pa., 1916, Plate 28; A. H. Mueller, Publisher
From the Harrisburg Telegraph clipping, 1916

From the Elizabethtown Chronicle clipping, 1943

Philadelphia Real Estate Record and Builders' Guide, v 35, 1920

Philadelphia Real Estate Record and Builders' Guide, v 36, 1921

Bibliography:


"Biological Experts Build New Plant at Ambler." Harrisburg Telegraph (Harrisburg, PA), August 26, 1916.


"Distance Calculator."DaftLogic. Accessed April 3, 2020. https://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm.


Mueller, A.H. Atlas of the North Penn Section of Montgomery County, Pa., Plate 28, 1916.


Philadelphia Real Estate Record and Builders' Guide, v. 35, n. 10 (1920): 200.


Philadelphia Real Estate Record and Builders' Guide, v. 36, n. 5 (1921): 75.


Roberts, Clarence Vernon, and Warren Smedley Ely. Early Friends Families of Upper Bucks, with Some Account of Their Descendants: Historical and Genealogical Information about the Early Settlers in Upper Bucks County, Pennsylvania. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1925), 264.


"Traces History to 1882." Elizabethtown Chronicle (Elizabethtown, PA), July 23, 1943.


#pahistory #historicpreservation #archive #googlebooks #newspapers #whitpain #ambler #broadaxe #butlerpike #laboratories #lab #barn #smallpox #vaccine #firsts #architecture #georgian #healthscience #medicine #coronavirus #COVID19 #gillilandlabs #PAHRSF

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