Allentown, Pennsylvania

Allentown, Pennsylvania has been a significant community over two hundred years. While it was a tiny place until the 1830s, this city has played a significant role in the country's progress. With the ending of the American Revolutionary war, the city's industries had to adapt to other types of industries, which Allentown has always managed to stay on top of things with numerous new industries. From the beginning, Allentown has been a very proactive job creation hub, as well as a great place to experience serious culture.

The culture of the city can be experienced by just walking the streets and seeing all of the old commercial and industrial buildings. While a fan of functional architecture would naturally have a field day in downtown Allentown, there are numerous other things to check out, as well. For one thing, Allentown has its namesake band, which is the oldest non-military band in the entire country. In addition to that, this is a city with an art school and seven different museums to its credit. With so much culture to be found, there's always something interesting going in this little burg. In some ways there's almost too much fun stuff to do.

Allentown has a lot to offer those who enjoy city life as well as the outdoors. The city also has a bustling nightlife, various places to eat, places to see and can also offer you a great shopping experience. It is also an area of history and culture.

Allentown History

Allentown Pennsylvania is the kind of place where old world history merges with the modern world in the best possible ways. From its inception, this has been the kind of town where important things happen. Since it sits in an area surrounded by large cities, it would be easy for Allentown to be forgettable, but this is a town whose inhabitants have contributed too much over the years.

In the beginning, Allentown was called Northampton Town. This town was started in 1762 by William Allen, who had made his fortune as a shipping merchant and then entered politics and became the mayor of Philadelphia and then as the Chief Justice of the Province of Pennsylvania. He bought the 5,000 acre parcel of land from his business partner Joseph Turner, who has received it from William Penn's son Thomas Penn in 1732. However, it took until 1811 for the town to finally be incorporated as a borough. The next year Northamptown became the seat of Lehigh County.

Over time, the popular name for the place became Allentown, and in 1838 the name became official. Allentown was officially incorporated as a city in 1867. However, some of the city's best history happened well before that point, such as during the American Revolution.

In 1776, the Battle of Trenton left many prisoners of war and a reasonable number of sick and injured Continental soldiers.

When George Washington was defeated at the Battle of Brandywine in 1777, Philadelphia was undefended and felt a British attack was imminent. Thus, the bell which would come to be called the Liberty Bell and several of its sister bells from around the city were taken down and hidden from the British. The Brits had a nasty habit of melting down bells and using them as cannons to bombard American soldiers and buildings, and the Pennsylvanians felt it would be best to give the British as few cannons as possible.

The Liberty Bell was hidden in the basement of the Old Zion Reformed Church, where the Liberty Bell Museum now sits. That same year, a factory which produced musket paper cartridges and a shop full of armorers moved into Allentown to help the war effort. Once the war was won, peace began to make developments in the American productive power.

In the 1830s the Lehigh Canal brought an increase in industrial might to the area. This created more jobs, and the population boomed, but iron and railroading weren't all the Allentown people could do well. Brewing beer was also ingrained in the local culture, and several brewers opened up in the 19th century. Since then, industries have come and gone, but Allentown has managed to keep up with whatever new curve ball history throws its way.

About Allentown, Pennsylvania

Throughout the manufacturing days of the 19th and 20th centuries, Allentown rode the waves of America's industrialization. During the silk boom of the 19th century, this city was a major production area for silks, with 140 silk mills all over. When that stopped being prominent, Allentown attracted heavy industry like Mack Trucks. When that stopped working, the city reinvented itself once again as a service economy, just as much of Pennsylvania has done.

Allentown's architecture is fairly recent, with most of the buildings being of Victorian origin or later. Craftsman and modern homes are the norm, although there are many historic manufacturing and factory buildings that have been converted into loft apartments in recent years.

Allentown is a great place for culture. For one thing, the city boasts its own symphony orchestra, as well as several concert bands including the Allentown Band. The Allentown Band is distinctive for being the oldest civilian concert band in the USA. The city also features a great deal of rare artwork, such as one of three DaVinci Horses in the world. The Allentown Art Museum showcases a collection of over 13,000 pieces of art and has its own library. Allentown even has an art school known as the Baum School of Art.

Allentown is a Pennsylvania German kind of place, and its culinary tastes make this abundantly clear. Items like apple butter, scrapple and Shoofly pie are staples at the local diner and fair scenes. While chain restaurants have a firm foothold in the city, ethnic cuisine at family run restaurants is still a powerful part of the Allentown experience. All manner of different ethnicities can be found offering the fruits of their mother lands for the enjoyment of all.

The fact that there's a civic theater and seven different museums in Allentown shouldn't make it seem like everyone is a nerd. There's also the Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom amusement park, which opened in 1950. When the people of Allentown want to unwind, they have a lot of different options for fun things to get into.

About Lehigh County, Pennsylvania

The city of Allentown Pennsylvania is located in Lehigh County Pennsylvania. Lehigh County exists in the Lehigh Valley area, which is the eastern section of Pennsylvania itself. Allentown is the county seat of Lehigh County, but there are other areas of population significance such as the western area of the city of Bethlehem. Other notable areas include 14 different townships and six different boroughs. Lehigh County has a fairly long history with some bizarre footnotes.

While Lehigh County was first settled back in 1730, it was not officially designated as a county in its own right until it split off from Northampton County in 1812. The county itself was named after the Lehigh River, which flows through and drains much of the valley and the county. The name "Lehigh" comes out of an old Delaware native American term which translates into "where there are forks."

The Census Bureau reports that Lehigh County has a total land area of 347 square miles within its borders. The valley in which Lehigh County sits is bordered to the south by South Mountain and to the north by Blue Mountain. The Lehigh river drains most of this valley, but the Schuykill River and its attendant creeks also drain some of the area. With so much drainage, the rainfall in the area is very well distributed at an average of between eight and twelve moist days per month. The annual average total rainfall is roughly 43 inches.

Lehigh County is almost four fifths white people, with almost one fifth of the total population claiming some type of Spanish or Latino ancestry. Of the roughly 312,000 people and more than 120,000 households claimed on the 2000 Census, 53% of the households were married couples. Of the households surveyed, less than one third of them had children under the age of 18. The overwhelmingly dominant language was English, but Spanish and Arabic also held respectable percentages among the population's mother languages.

Pennsylvania recognizes cities, boroughs, townships and a single official town. While that town is not within Lehigh County, all of the other types of population centers have significant representation therein.