The Lehigh Valley
The Lehigh Valley area is an exciting place to live! In addition to its rich history and political importance, the Lehigh Valley area has some of the best museums, shops, theaters, and restaurants in the world. School systems throughout the Lehigh Valley area are highly regarded and nationally competitive.
The land in and around Allentown and the Lehigh Valley was purchased in 1732, by sons of William Penn, as part of the famous "Walking Purchase." In 1735 William Allen, then Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Provincial Supreme Court, bought 5,000 acres of this land. The town was laid out in 1762, although was not called Allentown until 1838. During the Revolutionary War Allentown served as an arsenal for Washington's Army as well as a hiding place for the Liberty Bell . A shrine, including a full size replica of the bell is displayed in the Zion Reform Church, located at Hamilton and Church Streets.
The city is located on the Lehigh River and bordered on the North by the Blue Mountains and on the South by South Mountain. Philadelphia is a mere 50 miles to the south and the Big Apple is located 70 miles to the northeast. Allentown is nationally famous for its excellent park system composed of almost 1,700 acres. There are parks, playgounds, swimming pools, tennis courts, bridle paths, bike trails and picnic grounds, all available to the residents
The largest of the three cities, Allentown was founded in 1762 by William Allen, a successful businessman and former mayor of Philadelphia.
The city is known for its award-winning parks system, The Allentown Band, the oldest civilian concert band in the country, and for hiding the Liberty Bell from the British from 1777 to 1778 in the basement of a church.
Allentown is home to the world headquarters for Mack Trucks Inc.©, amusement and water park Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, and Mayfair Festival of the Arts which takes place over Memorial Day weekend every May. Cedar Crest College and Muhlenberg College are located in Allentown’s west end.
The city of Bethlehem, known as “Christmas City U.S.A.,” was founded by members of The Moravian Church in 1741. The downtown area is home to many original structures from the 1700s and early 1800s including a water works, tannery, and grain mill, as well as Moravian College. The Star of Bethlehem looks down over the city from atop South Mountain. Lit year round, the star is 81 feet high and has 246 light bulbs.
Today the city is known for its many annual festivals including Musikfest in August, Celtic Classic in September and Christkindlmarkt in November and December. Just Born makes its famous marshmallow Peeps® and Mike & Ike® candies here too. Shopping along Main Street and dining along “Restaurant Row” are highlights of any visit to Bethlehem. The city’s Southside features eclectic restaurants, shops and art galleries and the campus of Lehigh University.
Located in the eastern end of the Lehigh Valley along the New Jersey state border is Easton. Founded in 1752 by Thomas Penn, the city sits at the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers.
Centre Square is a hub of activity with weekly farmers markets, trendy restaurants, art galleries and antique shops. Families flock to Two Rivers Landing to check out how melted wax becomes crayons at The Crayola FACTORY®, and to learn about the city’s industrial history at the National Canal Museum. Stars of stage and screen perform throughout the year at The State Theatre Center for the Arts.
The College Hill neighborhood is named so for Lafayette College. The city’s annual Heritage Festival celebrates one of the three original readings of the Declaration of Independence which took place on July 8, 1776.
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