During the early 19th century, Julius Friedlander, a young teacher of children who were blind or had serious visual impairments, came to Philadelphia from Germany determined to establish a school. In March 1832, Friedlander realized his dream and opened The Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind. Friedlander died six years later, but the school already was well-established and known for producing the first embossed book in the U.S.
In 1946, the school was renamed the Overbrook School for the Blind and continues its mission to develop and deliver education that enhances the options available for people with visual impairments and other challenges so they can experience active, fulfilling lives. During the past 60 years, the school has expanded and currently includes a main building with classrooms, offices, an auditorium, a library and a touch-and-learn center. Two separate buildings house programs for preschool and elementary-age children.
In 2012, the main building began experiencing leaks. The source of the leaks was traced to the main cupola's roof area, and it was determined that area needed to be replaced. After attempts by others to fix the leaks, Russell Roofing Co. Inc., Oreland, Pa., was selected as the roofing contractor to perform the work.
"Russell Roofing was chosen to complete the work because of its reputation in our area among similar institutions for fine work and attention to detail," says Joe Van Bernum, chief financial officer for Overbook School for the Blind.