The Full Wiki

More info on Allentown, Pennsylvania

Allentown, Pennsylvania: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Allentown, Pennsylvania

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

—  City  —
City of Allentown
View of Center City Allentown in 2008


Nickname(s): "The Queen City".[1] , "A-Town"".[2] "Band City USA".[3] "Peanut City",[4] "Silk City".[5]
Motto: "Sic Semper Tyrannis"
Location in Lehigh County
Allentown is located in Pennsylvania
Location in Pennsylvania
Coordinates: 40°36′06″N 75°28′38″W / 40.60167°N 75.47722°W / 40.60167; -75.47722Coordinates: 40°36′06″N 75°28′38″W / 40.60167°N 75.47722°W / 40.60167; -75.47722
Country  United States
Commonwealth Flag of Pennsylvania.svg Pennsylvania
County Lehigh
Settled 1751
Founded 1762
Incorporated March 12, 1867
Founder William Allen
Named for William Allen
 - Type Mayor-Council
 - Mayor Ed Pawlowski (D)
 - City Attorney Scott G. Hoh
 - City Controller William J. Hoffman
 - City Council
 - Senate Pat Browne (R)
 - City 18.0 sq mi (46.5 km2)
 - Land 17.8 sq mi (45.9 km2)
 - Water 0.2 sq mi (0.6 km2)
 - Urban 289.50 sq mi (749.79 km2)
 - Metro 730.0 sq mi (1,174.82 km2)
Elevation 338 ft (103 m)
Highest elevation 440 ft (134 m)
Lowest elevation 255 ft (78 m)
Population (2000)
 - City 106,632 (236th)
 Density 6,011.5/sq mi (2,320.8/km2)
 Urban 576,408
 Metro 808,210 (62nd)
 - CSA 800,336
 - Demonym Allentonian
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 18101, 18102, 18103, 18104, 18105, 18106, 18109, 18175, 18195
Area code(s) 610, 484, 835
FIPS code 42-02000[6]
GNIS feature ID 1202899[7]
Primary Airport Lehigh Valley International Airport- ABE (Major/International)
Secondary Airport Allentown Queen City Municipal Airport- XLL (Minor)
For the song by Billy Joel, see "Allentown (song)."
For the neighborhood in Pittsburgh, see Allentown (Pittsburgh)

Allentown is a city located in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. It is Pennsylvania's third most populous city, after Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 106,632,[8] (2008 estimate 111,025).[9] It is also the county seat of Lehigh County.[10]

Located on the Lehigh River, Allentown is the largest of three adjacent cities that make up a region of eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey known as the Lehigh Valley, with the cities of Bethlehem and Easton nearby. Allentown is 60 miles (97 km) north of Philadelphia, the sixth most populous city in the United States, 80 miles (130 km) east of Harrisburg, the state capital, and 90 miles (140 km) west of New York City, the nation's largest city.

Two four-year colleges, Cedar Crest College and Muhlenberg College, are located in Allentown. Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom, a very popular amusement park, is located just outside of the city.

Commercial airline service to and from the city is available through Lehigh Valley International Airport (LVIA) (IATA: ABEICAO: KABE). General aviation and charter service is offered by LVIA and Allentown Queen City Municipal Airport (ICAO: KXLLFAA LID: XLL).

The city is connected to the Interstate Highway System by Interstate 78, and Interstate 476, the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which provide limited access connections to the major urban areas of other Northeastern United States urban areas. Also U.S. Route 22, the Lehigh Valley Thruway, provides a limited access east-west highway connection to the Interstate Highway System to the northern parts of the city.




The area that is today the center of Allentown was laid out as Northampton Town in 1762 by William Allen, a wealthy shipping merchant, former mayor of the city of Philadelphia and then-Chief Justice of the Province of Pennsylvania. The property was part of a 5,000-acre (20 km2) plot Allen purchased on September 10, 1735 from his business partner Joseph Turner, who was assigned the warrant to the land by Thomas Penn, son of William Penn, on May 18, 1732.[11] The tract was originally surveyed on November 23, 1736.[11] A subsequent survey done in 1753 by David Schultz for a road from Easton to Reading, of which present-day Union and Jackson streets were links, shows the location of log house owned by Allen, situated near the western bank of the Jordan Creek, which was believed to have been built around 1740. Used primarily as a hunting and fishing lodge, here Allen entertained prominent guests including his brother-in-law, James Hamilton, and colonial governor John Penn.[11]

The original plan for the town, now in the archives of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, comprised forty-two city blocks and consisted of 756 lots, mostly 60 feet (18 m) in width and 230 feet (70 m) in depth. The town was located between present-day Fourth and Tenth Streets, and Union and Liberty Streets. Many streets on the original plan were named for Allen's children: Margaret (present-day Fifth Street), William (now Sixth), James (now Eighth), Ann (now Ninth) and John (now Walnut). Allen Street (now Seventh) was named for Allen himself, and was the main thoroughfare. Hamilton Street was named for James Hamilton. Gordon Street was named for Sir Patrick Gordon, Deputy Governor of Colonial Pennsylvania from 1726-1736. Chew Street was named for Benjamin Chew, and Turner Street was named for Allen's business partner, Joseph Turner.[11]

Trout Hall, built in 1770 by James Allen (son of Allentown founder William Allen), is the oldest house in Allentown. From 1867 to 1905, it served as the home of Muhlenberg College.

Allen hoped that Northampton Town would displace Easton as the seat of Northampton County and also become a commercial center due to its location along the Lehigh River and its proximity to Philadelphia. Allen gave the property to his son James in 1767. Three years later, in 1770, James built a summer residence, Trout Hall, in the new town, near the site of his father's former hunting lodge.[12]

On March 18, 1811, the town was formally incorporated as the Borough of Northampton. On March 6, 1812, Lehigh County was formed from the western half of Northampton County, and Northampton Town was selected as the county seat. The town was officially renamed "Allentown" on April 16, 1838, after years of popular usage. Allentown was formally incorporated as a city on March 12, 1867.[13]

Liberty Bell and the American Revolutionary War

Allentown holds historical significance as the location where the Liberty Bell (then known as the Pennsylvania State House bell) was successfully hidden from the British during the American Revolutionary War. After George Washington's defeat at the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, the revolutionary capital of Philadelphia was defenseless, and that city prepared for British attack. The Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ordered that eleven bells, including the State House bell and the bells from Philadelphia's Christ Church and St. Peter's Church, be taken down and removed from the city to prevent the British, who would melt the bells down to cast into cannons, from taking possession of them. The bells were transported north to Northampton-Towne, and hidden in the basement of the Old Zion Reformed Church, in what is now center city Allentown. Today, a shrine and museum in the church's basement marks the exact spot where the Liberty Bell was hidden. It features a full-size official replica of the Liberty Bell, flanked by the flags of the original thirteen colonies.

Postcard (dated 1914) depicting the "Soldiers & Sailors Monument" in Allentown's Centre Square, which was dedicated in 1899 in honor of the Pennsylvania Volunteers' 47th Regiment in support of the Union in the American Civil War.

After the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776, Hessian prisoners-of-war were kept in the vicinity of present-day Seventh and Gordon Streets. The Old Zion Reformed Church, and a house near James (now Eighth) and Hamilton Streets, served as hospitals for injured and sick Continental Army troops. In 1777, a factory manufacturing paper cartridges for muskets was relocated here from nearby Bethlehem. That same year, a shop of sixteen armorers was established along the Little Lehigh Creek, and employed in the repair of weapons and the manufacture of saddles and scabbards.[11]

American Industrial Revolution

Prior to the 1830s, Allentown was a small town with only local markets. The arrival of the Lehigh Canal, however, expanded the city's commerce and industrial capacity greatly. With this, the town underwent significant industrialization, ultimately becoming a major center for heavy industry and manufacturing. While Allentown was not as large as neighboring Bethlehem at the time, the local iron industry — which included the Allentown Iron Company (established 1846) and the Allentown Rolling Mills (established 1860) — employed the majority of Allentown's workforce.[11] Railroads, such as the Lehigh Valley Railroad, were vital to the movement of raw materials and finished goods, and employed a significant workforce during this time. This period of rapid economic growth in the region was halted by two events, the Panic of 1873 and the Long Depression.

In addition to the iron and railroad industries, Allentown also had a strong tradition in the brewing of beer and was home to several notable breweries, including the Horlacher Brewery (founded 1897, closed 1978),[14] the Neuweiler Brewery (founded 1875, closed 1968)[15] and Schaefer Beer, whose brewery was later sold to Guinness.[16]

Early 20th century to present

Economic recovery in the early 20th century was brought about by the silk and textile industry. The Adelaide Silk Mill, one of the largest in the world at the time, opened in Allentown in 1881. By 1928, there were more than 140 silk and textile mills in the Lehigh Valley, making it the second largest industry in the region. By the 1930s, the silk industry was in worldwide decline, as synthetics were taking the place of silk. Catoir Silk Mill, the last silk mill in Allentown, closed in 1989. In 1905, Mack Trucks moved to Allentown, beginning Allentown's focus on heavy industrial manufacturing. Today, Allentown's economy, like most of Pennsylvania's, is primarily based in the service industries.



Allentown is located at 40°36'6" North, 75°28'38" West (40.601697, -75.477328).[17] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 46.5 km² (18.0 mi²). 45.9 km² (17.7 mi²) of it is land and 0.6 km² (0.2 mi²) of it is water. Bodies of water include the Jordan Creek and its tributary, the Little Lehigh Creek, which join within the city limits and empty into the Lehigh River. Other bodies of water within the city limits include Lake Muhlenberg in Cedar Creek Parkway and a pond in Trexler Park.

The city sits within the Lehigh Valley, a geographic region bounded by Blue Mountain, a ridge of the Appalachian mountain range, which varies from 1,000 to 1,600 feet (490 m) in height about 12 miles (19 km) north of the city, and South Mountain, a ridge of 500 to 1,000 feet (300 m) in height that borders the southern edge of the city.

The city is the county seat of Lehigh County. The adjacent counties are Carbon County to the north; Northampton County to the northeast and east; Bucks County to the southeast; Montgomery County to the south; and Berks County and Schuylkill County to the west.

Surrounding municipalities


Allentown's climate is considered to fall in the humid continental climate zone. Summers are typically hot and muggy, fall and spring are generally mild, and winter is cold. Precipitation is almost uniformly distributed throughout the year.

January lows average 21.2 °F and highs average 34.3 °F. The lowest officially recorded temperature was -16 °F in 1912. July lows average 63.7 °F and highs average 84.6°F. The highest temperature on record was 105 °F in 1966. Early fall and mid-winter are generally driest, with February being the driest month with only 2.75 inches of average precipitation.[18]

Snowfall is variable, with some winters bringing light snow and others bringing numerous significant snowstorms. Average snowfall is 34.2 in per year,[19] with the months of January and February receiving the highest at just over 9 in each. Rainfall is generally spread throughout the year, with eight to twelve wet days per month,[20] at an average annual rate of 110.54 centimetres (43.52 in).[21]

Climate data for Allentown
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 72
Average high °F (°C) 35
Average low °F (°C) 19
Record low °F (°C) -16
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.50
Source: The Weather Channel[22] 2009-05-23



Young people gather on 19th Street, in Allentown's West End, 2007.

Center City, which includes the downtown area and the 7th Street retail and residential corridor, is the city's central business district and the host to various city, county and federal government centers. To the east of Center City are "The Wards," the areas that developed as residential areas during the city's industrial boom of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Just east of the Lehigh River are the city's East Side neighborhoods, most of which border the various routes to nearby Bethlehem. South of Center City, and across the Little Lehigh Creek, are the city's South Side neighborhoods, which border Emmaus. Lastly, there is the affluent West End, which traditionally comprises most neighborhoods west of 15th Street.


Allentown's Center City neighborhoods mainly consist of a variety of Victorian and Federal rowhomes. The stately homes around West Park are mostly Victorian and Craftsman. The impressive homes on the city's tree-lined streets in the West End were mostly built in the 1920s and 40's. Houses in the City's South Side and East Side are mixture of styles and are generally twins and single family homes built from the 1940s through the 1960s with century old Victorians in the mix. Allentown also has loft apartments in converted mills and historic brick manufacturing buildings and modern and historic high-rise apartment buildings.

The PPL Building is Allentown's tallest building at 322 feet (98 m). It is 23 stories high and is located at the northwest corner of 9th and Hamilton Street. A Lehigh Valley icon, this Art Deco tower can be seen from places throughout the Lehigh Valley. One of the city's older still-standing structures, Allentown Symphony Hall, at 23 North Sixth Street in Center City, was constructed in 1896.

The City of Allentown is characterized by a large stock of historic homes, commercial structures and century-old industrial buildings.

There are three historic districts in Allentown, Old Allentown, the Old Fairgrounds and West Park neighborhoods. Old Allentown and Old Fairgrounds are Center City neighborhoods that hold a joint house tour organized by Old Allentown Preservation Association (OAPA) once a year in September. The West Park neighborhood also offers a tour of this district's larger Victorian and Craftsman-style homes.[23]


Arts and entertainment

The Allentown Symphony Orchestra performs at Allentown Symphony Hall, located on North Sixth Street in center city. The city also has a musical heritage of civilian concert bands, and is home to the Allentown Band, the oldest civilian concert band in the United States.[24] The Allentown Band, Marine Band of Allentown, Municipal Band of Allentown and the Pioneer Band of Allentown all regularly perform at the bandshell in the city's West Park.

The city houses a collection of public sculptures, including the DaVinci Horse, located on 5th Street. This sculpture is one of three in the world.

The Allentown Art Museum, located on North Fifth Street in Center City, is home to a collection of more than 13,000 pieces of art, along with an associated library. The Baum School of Art, located in downtown Allentown at 5th and Linden Streets, offers credit and non-credit classes in painting, drawing, ceramics, fashion design, jewelry making and more.


Vestiges of Allentown's Pennsylvania German heritage remain present in its cuisine, and foodstuffs such as scrapple, chow-chow, Lebanon bologna, cole slaw and apple butter are often found offered in local diners and the Allentown Farmer's Market. Shoofly pie, birch beer, and funnel cakes are regularly found at local fairs. Several local churches make and sell fastnachts as a fundraiser for Fastnacht Day, the day before the start of Lent.

As the population of the city has increased, many national restaurant and fast food chains have established a presence in the city. More recently, growth of the city's ethnic populations has led to the opening of many family run restaurants specializing in ethnic cuisine. Ethnic food types represented include Dominican, Mexican, Thai, Puerto Rican, West Indian, Japanese, Italian, Lebanese and Syrian.

Due in part to Allentown's proximity to Philadelphia, cheesesteaks are also popular. Yocco's Hot Dogs, a regionally well-known hot dog and cheesesteak establishment with six area locations, was founded in 1922 by Theodore Iacocca, uncle of Lee Iacocca. In addition, A-Treat, a regionally-popular brand of carbonated soft drinks, has been manufactured in Allentown since 1918.


Allentown is home to several museums, all open to the public. These museums are:

Theme parks

Allentown is home to the area's premier amusement park, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom.


Club League Sport Venue Established Championships
Lehigh Valley IronPigs IL Baseball Coca-Cola Park 2008 0
Northampton Laurels FC WPSL Soccer J. Birney Crum Stadium 2005 0
Pennsylvania Stoners NPSL Soccer J. Birney Crum Stadium 1979 2 (1980, 2008)
Philadelphia Force NPF Softball Bicentennial Park 2006 0


Allentown has a history in the sport of professional baseball that dates back to 1884. In 2008, Allentown unveiled Coca-Cola Park, a $50.25 million, 8,100-seat stadium.[25] The stadium was constructed in east-side Allentown to serve as the home field for the Philadelphia Phillies' AAA-level Minor League baseball team, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. The IronPigs, a member of the International League, are the first Major League-affiliated club to play in the city since 1960.[26]


Allentown hosted the Allentown Jets, an Eastern Professional Basketball League team, from 1958 to 1981. The Jets were one of the most dominant franchises in the league's history, winning eight playoff championships and twelve division titles. The team’s home games were played in Rockne Hall at Allentown Central Catholic High School.


Allentown is also home to the Stoners, a professional soccer team. From 1979-1983, the Stoners were members of the American Soccer League. The team had a five-year league record of 76-49-25, and won the league championship in 1980.[27] Due to increasing competition from other soccer leagues, and decreasing attendance, the team folded in 1983.[27] The team was resurrected in 2007 as the Pennsylvania Stoners, and competes in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). Based in Allentown, the team originally played its home games at J. Birney Crum Stadium. In 2008, the team captured the NPSL league championship. Since 2009, the Stoners play their home games at Whitehall-Coplay School District's Zephyr Sports Complex in nearby Whitehall. The Easton-based Northampton Laurels FC, of the Women's Premier Soccer League, also play at J. Birney Crum Stadium.


The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown. In the foreground is Allentown's Albertus L. Meyers Bridge, more commonly known as the Eighth Street Bridge.

Allentown's economy has historically been and continues to be manufacturing based. The city serves as the location of corporate headquarters for several large, global companies, including Air Products & Chemicals,[28] Mack Trucks, PPL, and others.[29] The largest employer in Allentown is Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network, with more than 7,800 employees.[30]

In 2008, after more than 100 years in the city, Mack Trucks announced that their Allentown-based corporate headquarters would be relocated to Greensboro, North Carolina in 2009.[31] It was expected that the move would result in the loss of approximately 600 jobs.[32] However, in 2009, the Lehigh Valley Health Network announced that they will be moving approximately 1,000 employees into the Mack Truck Building.


The Center City area along Hamilton Street 10th and 5th Streets was the primary shopping district in Allentown until the mid-1970s. The "Downtown", as it was referred to, was anchored by Hess's (9th and Hamilton); H. Leh and Company (7th and Hamilton), and Zollinger and Harned (6th and Hamilton) department stores. Along Hamilton street were scores of retail businesses; large banks; movie theaters and various small restaurants and lunch counters. On the second and third stories, professional offices could be found in many of the smaller buildings with storefronts on the first floor. Businesses generally operated from 9am to 5pm Monday-Saturday, staying open until 9pm on Thursdays and starting in the mid-1960s, also on Monday nights. Until 1952, Lehigh Valley Transit street trolleys operated east-west along the length of Hamilton Street, and also north and south along 8th Street. The major transit station downtown being at 8th & Hamilton.

In the 1950s, a privately-owned parking lot system (Park & Shop) to accommodate shoppers and downtown workers began to be built by razing old buildings generally within a block of Hamilton between Walnut and Linden streets, with Hamilton Street merchants providing validation for shoppers parking tickets. In the early 1970s, Hess's and Leh's built large, private multilevel covered parking decks connected to their department stores to attract customers.

In 1966, the Whitehall Mall opened along MacArthur Road, just north of Allentown in Whitehall Township. It was the first enclosed shopping center north of Philadelphia when it opened.[33] Having two major department stores (Sears & Roebuck and Zollinger and Harned) as anchor stores when it opened, its popularity led to the rise of a sprawling retail district along MacArthur Road that continued to expand into the early 1990s. After a major renovation in 1998, the Whitehall Mall's anchors included Bed, Bath & Beyond, Kohl's, and Sears.[33]

In the early 1970s, Hess's South, a satellite location of the Hess's downtown store, expanded to become the South Mall, located in South Allentown, at the city's border with Salisbury Township and Emmaus.[34] Today, the South Mall's anchors include Gold's Gym, Petco, Staples, Stein Mart, and The Bon-Ton.

In 1976, the Lehigh Valley Mall opened, just south of the Whitehall Mall, at the intersection of U.S. Route 22 and MacArthur Road. With more than 140 stores, the Lehigh Valley Mall became the largest shopping mall in the region, and presently has anchors including Boscov's, JCPenney and Macy's. A large outdoor shopping addition opened in October 2007, and includes stores such as Apple and Barnes & Noble. Most recently, The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, a large, upscale outdoor shopping mall, opened just south of the city, near Pennsylvania Route 309 and Interstate 78, in Upper Saucon Township.

Hamilton Mall

View eastwards of downtown Allentown from in front of Hess's department store at 9th Street, June 1973, during construction of Hamilton Mall Project.
View westwards of Hamilton Mall from 6th Street, taken during the summer of 1974, shortly after its completion. The mall included overhead sidewalk and street crossing canopies at half-streets, wide sidewalks with accent lighting, freshly-planted trees that lined Hamilton Boulevard from 6th to 10th Streets, and a limited, two-space drop-off, pick-up only parking area. Today, the wide brick sidewalk and trees are the mall's only remnants.

By the late 1960s, the development of suburban strip shopping centers (Lehigh, Crest Plaza, Two Guys, Mountainville, and Parkway) in the area during the late 1950s and 1960s and especially the opening of the indoor Whitehall Mall in 1966 were steadily reducing the number of shoppers along Hamilton Street. Consumers preferred the convenience of easy access via automobile, and the enclosed Whitehall Mall to the pedestrian outdoor sidewalk shopping which was found along Hamilton Street. The City of Allentown hired the firm of David M. Walker Associates in 1969 to explore the needs of Center City. The 1969 Walker Report concluded that automobile traffic had taken over the downtown shopping area and that a traffic-free business district between Linden, Walnut, Sixth and Tenth Streets be developed and to convert the downtown Hamilton Street shopping area to a "Semimall", later known as "Hamilton Mall". Traffic would no longer be allowed on Hamilton Street. The intersection of Eighth and Hamilton would be closed as well as all half streets intersecting Hamilton. This would create a large pedestrian shopping "superblock" between Center Square and 9th Street, with two smaller shopping blocks between Sixth and Seventh and Ninth and Tenth. Center Square would become a large, pedestrian only area with Seventh street being reduced to one lane on each side of the Soldier's and Sailor's Monument. Hamilton Street would be completely rebuilt, with the existing street removed and replaced by a raised brick walking surface. Large, enclosing canopies would be built on each side of the street to provide shoppers protection from the weather, and small buses would operate east-west between 6th and 10th Streets picking up and dropping off shoppers to give them easy access to retail stores.[35]

During a 30-day test in April 1971, traffic on Hamilton Street was shut down between Sixth and Tenth and Lehigh Valley Transit provided small buses, free of charge for shoppers. Walnut Street, which traditionally ran one way east to west, was reversed to run west-east, with traffic along Hamilton Street being diverted south to Walnut at Twelfth street for eastbound travel. Traffic moving westbound on Hamilton Street was diverted north at Sixth, then moved west along Linden to Twelfth, then south to Hamilton, giving the center city a circular traffic flow around the pedestrian-only Center City.

Problems quickly arose. It was difficult for small merchants downtown to receive deliveries, since the half streets were blocked and the narrow streets did not allow turnarounds of small delivery trucks. Also, the new restriction prohibiting automobile traffic on Hamilton Street was unpopular, and the proposed closing of the Eighth and Hamilton intersection was deemed impractical, since it blocked a major north-south route from South Allentown. Within a week, Eighth Street was reopened. The plan was also changed to allow limited two-lane automobile traffic on Hamilton Street one-way west to east, with limited drop-off and pick-up only parking. Traffic lights were installed at each major street and half street with a speed limit of 20 MPH. The sidewalks would be expanded outwards with canopies covering them.[35]

Final plans were developed and approval was given by City Council in October 1971. Construction of Hamilton Mall began in early 1972, with construction lasting until 1974. Starting at 10th street and proceeding east, one full block at a time was closed to traffic with the existing street surface and sidewalks removed (including the old trolley tracks which had been asphalted over in the 1950s) along with the sidewalks on each side of the street. In addition, the famous downtown sidewalk street lights, which contained hanging flower gardens, were scrapped. Retail store street signs were also removed, including the large signature Hess's department store sign because they interfered with the sidewalk street canopies. The large parking areas at Center Square and comfort station under the square were also removed and turned into large brick sidewalks, along with the resurfacing of Seventh Street between Linden and Walnut Streets.[35]

The construction of Hamilton Mall caused severe disruption in the downtown shopping area for more than two years. During that time, merchants and Center City employees experienced enormous difficulties as sections of Hamilton Street were closed for months at a time. The sidewalks along Hamilton Street were reduced to single path walkways, and piles of rubble, construction material, the sounds of heavy construction equipment took over the downtown area. During the construction period shoppers tended to avoid the downtown area and shop in the suburban malls and shopping centers.[35]

Officially opened in 1974, Hamilton Mall never lived up to the expectations of the city planners. Large numbers of shoppers did not return to the downtown area. The opening of Lehigh Valley Mall in 1976 and other, smaller malls in the suburbs with outside satellite stores increased the amount of businesses closing along Hamilton Street. The major expansion of MacArthur Road in Whitehall Township also led to less and less shoppers on Hamilton Mall. Improvements were made along Hamilton Mall by removing the overhead sidewalk canopies and installing a new generation of street lights, designed to replicate the hanging flower gardens of the ones removed in the construction were erected to improve the Mall's appearance. Parking meters were installed to allow longer term, but still limited parking. However, by the late 1970s, increased suburbanization led to a general decline in the popularity of the downtown shopping district. Retail shopping downtown declined with the closing of Leh's (1987) and Zollinger's (1978) downtown and culminated with the last major department store, Hess's, being sold-off in 1994, eventually being closed and subsequently demolished in 2000. Instead of a shopping Mecca, the use of downtown Allentown has turned into office buildings and increasingly has become a center-city campus for city and county government workers, along with those of PPL.


Headquartered in center ctiy Allentown, The Morning Call is among the 100 largest circulation newspapers in the United States.[36]


Allentown-based print media include The Morning Call, the city's daily newspaper, and Pulse Weekly, an arts and entertainment newspaper.


Allentown is part of the Philadelphia DMA (designated market area).[37] The four major Philadelphia-based network stations serving Allentown include: KYW-TV (CBS), WCAU (NBC), WPVI (ABC) and WTXF (Fox). Other available Philadelphia stations include: WPHL-TV, WPSG, and others. Several New York City stations also serve the area, including WPIX and WWOR-TV.

Additionally, the city is served by three Lehigh Valley television stations: WFMZ Channel 69 (independent) and WBPH-TV (Christian), both in Allentown, and WLVT Channel 39 (PBS) in Bethlehem.[38][39][40]


Allentown's radio market is ranked 68th largest in the United States by Arbitron.[41] Stations licensed to Allentown include WAEB-AM (talk, news and sports), WAEB-FM (Top 40 music), WDIY (NPR and public radio), WHOL (tropical music), WLEV (adult contemporary music), WMUH (Muhlenberg College campus radio), WSAN (Fox Sports Radio and Philadelphia Phillies broadcasts), WZZO (hard rock music) and others. In addition, many New York City and Philadelphia stations can be received in Allentown.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1790 486
1800 573 17.9%
1810 710 23.9%
1820 1,132 59.4%
1830 1,757 55.2%
1840 2,493 41.9%
1850 3,703 48.5%
1860 8,025 116.7%
1870 13,884 73.0%
1880 18,063 30.1%
1890 25,288 40.0%
1900 35,416 40.1%
1910 51,913 46.6%
1920 73,502 41.6%
1930 92,563 25.9%
1940 96,904 4.7%
1950 106,756 10.2%
1960 108,347 1.5%
1970 109,871 1.4%
1980 103,758 −5.6%
1990 105,301 1.5%
2000 106,632 1.3%
Est. 2008 111,025 [42] 4.1%

As of a 2008 United States Census Bureau estimate[43], there were 111,025 people living in the city. There were 45,042 housing units in Allentown. The racial makeup of Allentown was 63.2% White, 11.0% African American, 0.2% Native American or Alaskan Native, 1.9% Asian, 0.0% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 20.6% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. 36.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino, mostly of Puerto Rican descent. The median age of the population was 32.8 years. The city's population broken down by age ranges was 8.4% under 5 years, 6.9% between 5 and 9 years, 6.5% between 10 and 14 years, 7.8% between 15 and 19 years, 8.0% between 20 and 24 years, 15.6% between 25 and 34 years, 13.3% between 35 and 44 years, 12.5% between 45 and 54 years, 4.5% between 55 and 59 years, 4.2% between 60 and 64 years, 5.6% between 65 and 74 years, 4.9% between 75 and 84 years, and 1.9% who were 85 years and older. There were 54,699 males and 56,326 females in the city.

64.2% of the population speaks English, while 28.9% of the population speaks Spanish. 40.1% of the foreign population is a naturalized U.S. citizen, while 59.9% are not.

17.4% of all families and 21.1% of the population was below the poverty line, including 29.8% of those under age 18.

The unemployment rate for the entire Lehigh Valley area is 9.8% as of February 2010, with Allentown's unemployment rate estimated at over 10%.[44]

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 106,632 people and 25,135 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,320.8/km² (6,011.5/mi²). There were 45,960 housing units at an average density of 1,000.3/km² (2,591.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 72.55% White, 7.85% African American, 0.33% Native American, 2.27% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 13.37% from other races, and 3.55% from two or more races. 24.44% of the population were Hispanic or Latino.

Allentown Compared
2000 Census Allentown PA U.S.
Total population 106,632 12,281,054 281,421,906
Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000 +1.3% +3.14% +13.1%
Population density 6,011.5/sq mi 247/sq mi 80/sq mi
Median household income $32,016 $34,619 $41,994
Bachelor's degree or higher 15.4% 22.4% 24.4%
Foreign born 9.6% 5% 11%
White (non-Hispanic) 72.5% 85.4% 75.1%
Black 7.8% 10.01% 12.3%
Hispanic (any race) 24.4% 4.4% 12.5%
Asian 2.3% 1.8% 4.2%

There were 42,032 households in the city, of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18, 39.4% had married couples living together, 15.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.2% had non-families. 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The city's average household size is 2.42 and the average family size was 3.09.

The city's population broken down by age ranges was 24.8% under 18, 11.2% from 18-24, 29.8% from 25-44, 19.1% from 45-64, and 15.1% 65 years or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there are 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,016, and the median income for a family was $37,356. Males had a median income of $30,426 versus $23,882 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,282. 18.5% of the population and 14.6% of families were below the poverty line. 29.4% of those under the age of 18 and 10.3% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

At 322 feet (98 m) tall, the headquarters of PPL is the tallest building in Allentown.

Law and government

Politics and elections

Allentown operates as a Pennsylvania third-class city with the "strong-mayor" version of the mayor-council form of government since 1970 wherein the mayor serves as chief executive and administrative officer for the municipality and City Council serves as the legislative and oversight body providing checks and balances on the system.[45]

Elected "at-large," the mayor serves a four year term under the city's home rule charter.[46] The current city mayor is Democrat Ed Pawlowski, who replaced Roy C. Afflerbach after his single-term in office from 2002 to 2006. The legislative branch, the Allentown City Council, consists of seven council members elected at large for four-year staggered terms.[46] City Council holds regular public meetings in order to enact legislation in the form of ordinances and resolutions. The current president of the City Council is Michael D'Amore.[47] The City Controller, who is responsible for the oversight of the city's finances, is also elected and serves a four-year term.[48]

Federally, Allentown is part of Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district, represented by Republican Charlie Dent, elected in 2004. The state's senior member of the United States Senate is Democrat Arlen Specter, elected in 1980 as a Republican. The state's junior member of the United States Senate is Democrat Bob Casey, elected in 2006. The Governor of Pennsylvania is Democrat Ed Rendell, elected in 2002; he is term-limited and therefore will not seek re-election in 2010.


Crime rates (2008)
Crime type Rate*
Homicide: 14.9
Forcible rape: 30.7
Robbery: 463
Aggravated assault: 241.3
Violent crime: 749.9
Burglary: 1,325.7
Larceny-theft: 3,482.5
Motor vehicle theft: 458.4
Arson: 25.2
Property crime: 5,291.8
* Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.
2008 population: 107,335
Source: 2008 FBI UCR Data

Allentown ranked 86th out of 393 cities in the 2009 CQ Press City Crime Rankings for the United States.[49]

In 2008, Allentown saw the following: 16 murders, 33 forcible rapes, 497 robberies, 259 aggravated assaults, 5,653 property crimes, 1,423 burglaries, 3,738 thefts, 492 auto thefts, and 27 arsons. There were 805 violent crimes and 5,680 property crimes reported.

In 2007, the known criminal offenses in Allentown, as reported to the FBI, included more than 800 violent crimes and more than 5,000 property crimes. With the exception of aggravated assault, Allentown exceeded national averages in all criminal categories. Most notable, cases of arson in Allentown were nearly double the national average.[50] Other crimes in Allentown that substantially exceeded national averages were robbery, murder and forcible rape. In 2007, incidents of reported crimes in the city dropped, with violent crime dropping by 18 percent and all crime dropping by 9 percent.[51]

The total reported violent crimes in Allentown was comparable to the 2003 national average (1.01 times the average).

Individual violent crime rates per capita compared to U.S. national averages were: robbery (1.54 times avg.), murder (1.47 times avg.), forcible rape (1.32 times avg.), and aggravated assault (0.57 times avg.). The total reported property crimes in Allentown exceeded the 2003 national average by 1.21 times. Individual property crime rates per capita compared to the U.S. national average were: arson (1.71 times avg.), burglary (1.23 times avg.), larceny/theft (1.22 times avg.), and automobile theft (1.08 times avg.).

Allentown's crime statistics are heightened significantly by gang-related crime and gang rival and retaliatory violence stemming from the presence of many of the nation's most violent gangs.[52] In the 1990s, anti-gang initiatives in New York City and elsewhere resulted in an increased population of gang members in Allentown, particularly in the city's center city area.[53] Gangs including 18th Street, Black Dragons, Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, Los Solidos, Mexican Mafia, MS-13 have been discovered in the region.[53] More than 75% of the homicides in Allentown during 2007 were drug or gang-related killings.[52] In 2008, a multimillion dollar methamphetamine ring operating in Allentown and the surrounding region, with ties to the Crips organization, was broken up by narcotics agents.[54] The city has undertaken various initiatives, including participation in the federally-funded "Route 222 Corridor Anti-Gang Initiative" and the reorganization of the city police department, in an attempt to combat the problem.[55][56] Additionally, the city's Weed and Seed program has been effective at reducing both violent and non-violent crime in the downtown neighborhoods it serves.[57]


Public schools

The City of Allentown is served by the Allentown School District, which is the fourth largest school district in Pennsylvania, with 18,118 students (based on 2005-2006 enrollment data).[58]

The city maintains two public high schools for grades 9-12, William Allen High School, which serves students from the southern and western parts of the city, and Louis E. Dieruff High School, which serves students from the eastern and northern parts. Each of these Allentown area high schools competes athletically in the Lehigh Valley Conference. Both schools play their home football games at J. Birney Crum Stadium.

Allentown School District's four middle schools, for grades 6-8, include: Francis D. Raub Middle School, Harrison-Morton Middle School, South Mountain Middle School and Trexler Middle School. The city is served by 16 elementary schools, for kindergarten through fifth grade, including: Central, Cleveland, Hiram W. Dodd, Jackson, Jefferson, Lehigh Parkway, Lincoln, McKinley, Midway Manor, Mosser, Muhlenberg, Ritter, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Union Terrace and Washington. The Roberto Clemente Charter School, also located in the Allentown School District, is a Title I charter school which provides educational services to mainly Hispanic students in grades 6 through 12.

The Allentown School District is currently undertaking a 10 year, $120 million facilities improvement plan. The plan includes renovation of all 23 schools in the district. Most of the schools to be renovated will be expanded. Two additional elementary schools and a fifth middle school are expected to be built.[59]

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg College is one of two four-year colleges located in Allentown.

Private schools

Allentown has two parochial high schools, Allentown Central Catholic High School and Lehigh Valley Christian High School, though both schools draw students from both Allentown and the city's suburbs. Other Allentown-based parochial schools (serving grades K-8) include: Cathedral of Saint Catharine of Siena School, Holy Spirit School, Lehigh Christian Academy, Mercy Special Learning Center, Our Lady Help of Christians School, Sacred Heart School, Saint Francis of Assisi School, Saint Paul School, and Saint Thomas More School. Parochial schools in Allentown are operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown. The Grace Montessori School is a pre-school and early elementary Montessori school run as an outreach of Grace Episcopal Church. The Swain School, a non-sectarian private school founded in 1929, is also located in Allentown.

Colleges and universities

Two four-year colleges are located in Allentown: Cedar Crest College and Muhlenberg College. A satellite campus of Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC), a comprehensive community college which offers two and four year degree programs, continuing education and industry training, is located in Center City Allentown.[60]




The city's primary airport, Lehigh Valley International Airport (IATA: ABEICAO: KABE), is located three miles (5 km) northeast of Allentown in Hanover Township. Newark (New Jersey) International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport, which are within an hour to an hour-and-a-half driving distance of Allentown, provide additional flight services to Lehigh Valley residents. The region is also served by Allentown Queen City Municipal Airport (ICAO: KXLLFAA LID: XLL), a two-runway general aviation facility located in South Allentown used predominantly by private aviation.


Four expressways run through the Allentown area, with associated exits to the city: Interstate 78, which runs from Harrisburg in the west to New York City's Holland Tunnel in the east; the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, (which is part of I-476), runs from Plymouth Meeting outside Philadelphia in the south to Interstate 81 at Clarks Summit in the north; Pennsylvania Route 309, which runs from Philadelphia in the south to The Poconos in the north; and U.S. Route 22, which runs from Cincinnati, Ohio in the west to Newark, New Jersey in the east. Public parking within Allentown is managed by the Allentown Parking Authority.

There are nine major inbound roads to Allentown: Airport Road, Cedar Crest Boulevard, Fullerton Avenue, Hamilton Boulevard, Lehigh Street, Mauch Chunk Road, Pennsylvania Route 145 (MacArthur Road), Tilghman Street, and Union Boulevard.


Eighth Street Bridge (dated 1933) by Allentown artist John E. Berninger. Now known as the Albertus L. Meyers Bridge, this painting depicts a neighborhood demolished about 1969 on Allentown's Lawrence Street.

Public transportation within Allentown is provided by LANTA, a public bus system serving Lehigh and Northampton Counties. Several private bus lines, including Bieber Tourways, Susquehanna Trailways and Trans-Bridge Lines, provide bus service from Allentown to New York City's Port Authority Bus Terminal, Philadelphia's Greyhound Terminal, Atlantic City's Bus Terminal, and other regional locations.


Historically, Allentown has been served by Central Railroad of New Jersey, Conrail, Lehigh and New England Railroad, Lehigh Valley Railroad, and Reading Railroad. While Allentown currently has no passenger rail service (the last public rail service, which was part of the Bethlehem-Philadelphia service provided by Conrail under contract with SEPTA, ceased operating in 1979), several of the Allentown-area stations once used for passenger service have been preserved through their current commercial use. In November 2008, the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), along with both Lehigh and Northampton Counties, commissioned a study to explore the merits of expanding the New Jersey Transit line to the Lehigh Valley, which would potentially include stops in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton.[61]

Allentown is a regional center for commercial freight rail traffic. Currently, Norfolk Southern's primary hump classification yards are located in Allentown,[62] and the city is also served by the R.J. Corman Railroad Group.[63]


Allentown and the Lehigh Valley area were once served only by the 215 area code from 1947 (when the North American Numbering Plan of the Bell System went into effect) until 1994. With the city and region's growing population, however, Allentown and its surrounding areas were afforded area code 610 in 1994. Today, the city of Allentown is covered by 610. An overlay area code, 484, was added to the 610 service area in 1999.[64] A plan to introduce area code 835 as an additional overlay was rescinded in 2001.[65]

Health systems

Allentown is home to several hospitals and health networks, including St. Luke's Health Network, Sacred Heart Hospital, the Lehigh Valley Health Network and the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network.


Electricity in Eastern Pennsylvania is provided by PPL, also known as PP&L. UGI provides natural gas for homes. Two cable systems, RCN Corporation (originally Twin County Cable) and Service Electric Cable TV, Inc., have served the city since the 1960s.[66] The area's only landfill, IESI Bethlehem, is located in nearby Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Parks and recreation

Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom's Steel Force and Thunderhawk roller coasters, just outside Allentown. Steel Force opened in 1997 as the tallest and fastest roller coaster on the East Coast of the United States, with a first drop of 205 feet (62 m) and a top speed of 75 miles per hour (121 km/h).[67]

City parks

The City of Allentown has one of the best park systems in the country. Much of the city's park system can be attributed to the efforts of industrialist Harry Clay Trexler. Inspired by the City Beautiful movement in the early 1900s, Trexler helped create West Park, a 6.59-acre (26,700 m2) park in what was then a community trash pit and sandlot baseball field[68] in an upscale area of the city. The park, which opened in 1909, features a bandshell, designed by noted Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer, which has long been home to the Allentown Band and other community bands.[68] Trexler also facilitated the development of Trexler Park, Cedar Parkway, Allentown Municipal Golf Course and the Trout Nursery in Lehigh Parkway. Trexler was also responsible for the development of the Trexler Trust, which to this day continues to provide private funding for the maintenance and development of Allentown's park system.[69]

City parks in Allentown include Bicentennial Park (4,600 seat mini-stadium built for sporting events), Cedar Creek Parkway (127 acres, including Lake Muhlenberg, Cedar Beach and the Malcolm W. Gross Memorial Rose Garden), East Side Reservoir (15 acres), Kimmets Lock Park (5 acres), Lehigh Canal Park (55 acres), Lehigh Parkway (999 acres), Old Allentown Cemetery (4 acres), Jordan Park, South Mountain Reservoir (157 acres), Trexler Memorial Park (134 acres), Trout Creek Parkway (100 acres), Joe Daddona Park (19 acres) and West Park (6.59 acres).[69]


Mayfair Festival of the Arts, an arts and crafts festival established in 1986, is held each May at Cedar Beach Park in Allentown. The Great Allentown Fair runs annually, in early September, on the grounds of the Allentown Fairgrounds, where it has been held since 1889. The first Allentown Fair was held in 1852, and between 1852 and 1899 it was held at the "Old Allentown Fairgrounds," which was located north of Liberty Street between 5th and 6th streets. The J. Birney Crum Stadium plays host to the Collegiate Marching Band Festival, held annually since 1995, as well as other marching band festivals and competitions.


The city has two large capacity outdoor stadiums. Coca-Cola Park, with an overall capacity of 10,000,[70] was constructed in 2007 and is the home field for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the AAA-level minor league team affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball. J. Birney Crum Stadium, used for Lehigh Valley Conference football and other purposes, has a seating capacity in excess of 15,000. The city has no large indoor stadium, but major indoor sporting and concert events are held at Stabler Arena, in neighboring Bethlehem.

Other recreational sites

Other recreational sites in Allentown include Allentown Municipal Golf Course, Cedar Beach Pool, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Fountain Pool, Irving Pool, Jordan Pool and Mack Pool.

Notable residents

Allentown is the birthplace of, or home to, several notable Americans, including:

In popular culture

Allentown's reputation as a rugged blue collar city has led to many references to the city in popular culture:

The song "Allentown," released by Billy Joel in 1982, is named for the city.
  • On the January 17, 2009 episode of Saturday Night Live, in the skit "Good Excuse," a guest is urged to tell his girlfriend, as an excuse for his breakup with her, that his company is relocating to Allentown.
  • On the March 9, 2002 episode of MADtv, in the skit "Religious Christian," a character named Christian leaves his day trading career to preach door to door throughout Allentown. However, his obvious homosexuality leads to an awkward meeting at the Tucke home.
  • In the Season 5 episode of Frasier: "Roz and the Schnoz," which first aired May 5, 1998, Niles tells Frasier that a man from Allentown is donating a lung to his brother.
  • The TV production company Medstar Television, which produced the series Medical Detectives from 1996 to 2000, and the series Forensic Files from 2000 on, is headquartered in Allentown. Locations throughout the city have been used as settings for dramatic reenactments of crimes profiled by the shows.
  • Allentown is referenced as the secret location of a bomb planted by The Joker in Frank Miller's comic book series, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, published in 1986.
  • Allentown is the hometown of up and coming showgirl Peggy Sawyer in the long-running, Tony Award-winning Broadway musical 42nd Street, released in 1980, and its associated Academy Award-nominated movie. When Sawyer expresses her desire to leave Broadway to return to Allentown, the show's director and entire cast successfully dissuade her by singing the famed musical number "The Lullaby of Broadway."
  • Allentown is mentioned in the opening lyric of the Frank Zappa song "200 Years Old," which appears on his 1975 album Bongo Fury.
  • Hiding The Bell, a 1968 historical fiction novel by Ruth Nulton Moore, chronicles the events surrounding the hiding of the Liberty Bell in Allentown in 1777.[71]
  • In the 1960 musical Bye Bye Birdie, character Rosie Alvarez is from Allentown. In the song "Spanish Rose," she sings: "I'm just a Spanish Tamale according to Mae/ Right off the boat from the tropics, far, far away/ Which is kinda funny, since where I come from is Allentown, PA."
  • Allentown was home to the character Duane Doberman in The Phil Silvers Show, a CBS comedy series that ran from 1955 to 1959.

Landmarks and popular locations

Postcard (dated 1916) depicting Allentown's Eighth Street Bridge.
  • Albertus L. Meyers Bridge (built 1913), 8th & Union Sts. Also known as the Eighth Street Bridge, once the longest and highest concrete bridge in the world.[73]
  • Allentown Art Museum (built 1934), 31 N. 5th St. Collection of over 13,000 works of art, along with an associated library.
  • Allentown Cemetery Park (established 1765), 10th & Linden Sts. Burial site of the city's earliest residents, including American Revolutionary War and War of 1812 veterans.[73]
  • Allentown Fairgrounds (established 1889), 400 N. 17th St. Home of the Allentown Fair (started 1852), Allentown Farmers Market, Agri-Plex exhibit hall and The Ritz restaurant.[74]
  • Allentown Post Office (built 1933-34), 5th & Hamilton Sts. Classical Moderne-style building with Art Deco ornamentation. Interior murals of local historical scenes by New York artist Gifford Reynolds Beal.[75]
  • Allentown Symphony Hall (built 1896), 23 N. 6th St. Owned by the Allentown Symphony Association, a 1200-seat performing arts facility that is home to the Allentown Symphony Orchestra, as well as Pennsylvania Sinfonia, Community Concerts of Allentown, Allentown Band and Community Music School of the Lehigh Valley.[76]
  • Bogert's Covered Bridge (built 1841), S. 24th St. & Fish Hatchery Rd. One of the region's oldest covered bridges, a 145-foot (44 m) span over the Little Lehigh Creek in Allentown's Lehigh Parkway.[77]
  • Frank Buchman House, 117 N. 11th St. Home of Frank N. D. Buchman (1878–1961), founder of the Oxford Group and Moral Re-Armament religious movements.
  • Butz-Groff House (built 1872), 111 N. 4th St. Dark stone Victorian home in what was once the center of Allentown's most fashionable residential district. Built by attorney Samuel A. Butz and later owned by his grandson, Joseph C. Groff.[73]
  • Cedar Crest College (founded 1867), 100 College Dr. Liberal arts college with an 84-acre (340,000 m2) campus on the city's western edge.[78]
  • Centre Square and Soldiers & Sailors Monument (built 1899), 7th & Hamilton Sts.[79] Monument honoring American Civil War veterans from the 47th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.
  • William F. Curtis Arboretum (started 1915), 100 College Dr. Located at Cedar Crest College, a collection of 140 species of trees registered with the American Public Gardens Association.[80]
  • Earl F. Hunsicker Bicentennial Park (built 1939, renovated 1976), Lehigh & S. Howard Sts. Originally Fairview Field, home to the city's Minor League Baseball teams, 1939-47. As Bicentennial Park, hosted the Allentown Ambassadors, 1997-2003.[81]
  • Hess's Department Store (closed 1996 and demolished in 2000).
  • Homeopathic Healing Art Plaque, 31 S. Penn St. Marks the location of the world's first medical college exclusively devoted to the practice of homeopathic medicine. Established in 1835, the college went bankrupt in 1845 and relocated to Philadelphia, where it developed into what is today Hahnemann University Hospital.
  • J. Birney Crum Stadium (built 1948), 22nd & Turner Sts. Home football field of Allentown's three high schools, a 15,000-capacity stadium once the largest in Pennsylvania.
  • Muhlenberg College (founded 1848), 2400 Chew St. Liberal arts college located on an 81-acre (330,000 m2) campus in Allentown's West End.[82]
  • Old Allentown Cemetery (established 1846), N. Fountain & Linden Sts. City's second oldest cemetery, located next to Allentown Cemetery Park. Burial site of Tilghman Good (1830–87), two-term mayor and commander of the 47th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers during the American Civil War.[73]
  • Old Court House County Museum, 5th & Hamilton Sts.
  • Old Zion Reformed Church and Liberty Bell Shrine Museum, 622 Hamilton St. Located on Hamilton Street in center city Allentown, the temporary hiding place of the Liberty Bell in 1777-78 during the Revolutionary War.[83]
  • Portland Place (built 1902), 718 Hamilton St. Former headquarters of Lehigh Portland Cement Company, remodeled in the art deco style in 1939-40. Over the front door was a glass relief by artist Oronzio Maldarelli, the largest glass mural panel in the world at the time. When the company (now Lehigh Cement Company) relocated, the sculpture was installed in the building's new lobby.[73]
  • PPL Building (built 1928), 9th & Hamilton Sts. Allentown's tallest building (23 stories), headquarters to PPL Corporation.[84]
  • Revolutionary War Plaque (erected 1926), 8th & Hamilton Sts. On the side of the Farr Building, marks the site of a hospital for Revolutionary War soldiers in 1777-78.[73]
  • Sterling Hotel (1890), 343-45 Hamilton St. Three-story, Romanesque-style brick hotel.[85] Now a popular bar and music venue. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places, 1984.[86]
  • Trout Hall (built 1770), 414 Walnut St. Oldest house in Allentown, built by James Allen, son of William Allen, the city's founder.[12]
  • Yocco's Hot Dogs (opened 1922). Regionally-popular restaurant chain with six Lehigh Valley locations, including three in Allentown.

Museums and cultural organizations

Sister cities and twin cities

Allentown has three official sister cities as designated by Sister Cities International[citation needed]:

Allentown also has two designated "twin cities":


  1. ^ Whelan, Frank (May 7, 1991), "'Cement City' Moniker Is A Mystery American Heritage Says Label Was Allentown's.", The Morning Call: B.03 . "Queen City's origins as an Allentown nickname are obscure. It is believed to come from a turn-of-the-century competition hosted by the Allentown Chamber of Commerce. The winning entry was said to be Queen City."
  2. ^ Wholberg, Julie, "The New Main Street? A-Town's 19th Street Experience", The Morning Call 
  3. ^ Salter, Rosa (April 20, 2003), "Two in tune with the times ** At 175, Allentown Band, America's oldest, preserves best of tradition.", The Morning Call: E.01 . "1967: Allentown named Band City-U.S.A"
  4. ^ Whelan, Frank (March 13, 2002), "Hamilton Street used to be thick with peanut shells ** And Allentown's Army Camp Crane once had a popular commander.", The Morning Call: B.04 . "Allentown's title as the Peanut City goes back to the late 19th and early 20th century when large amounts of them were eaten in the Lehigh Valley. From the 1880s to the 1920s, vendors lined Hamilton Street, singing jingles in Pennsylvania Dutch about the superior quality of their peanuts. Former Call-Chronicle Sunday editor John Y. Kohl recalled in 1967 that the peanuts were eaten mostly by young men and boys who would walk Hamilton Street on Saturday nights flirting with girls and 'throwing the shells about with complete abandon.' Sunday morning sidewalks were 'not quite ankle deep' in shells. Merchants would get up early to sweep them into the gutter so churchgoers would not have to wade through them.'"
  5. ^ Whelan, Frank (May 7, 1991), "Cement City' Moniker Is A Mystery American Heritage Says Label Was Allentown's.", The Morning Call: B.03 . "Silk City for example, is a throwback to the late 19th and early 20th century, when Allentown was known for its many silk mills. Although the last mill closed a few years ago, the name hangs on in the minds of older residents."
  6. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  8. ^ "State & County Quick Facts: Allentown, Pennsylvania". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  9. ^ "". 
  10. ^ "About Lehigh County". Lehigh County official website. Retrieved 2006-06-08. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f Gordon, L.C., ed (1916). Allentown 1916. Allentown, Pennsylvania. 
  12. ^ a b Roberts, Charles R. (1908). "William Allen, the Founder of Allentown, and His Descendants" (PDF). Proceedings of the Lehigh County Historical Society (Allentown, Pennsylvania: Lehigh County Historical Society) (1st): 22–43. Retrieved 2008-08-17. 
  13. ^ "Lehigh County - 4th class" (PDF). Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Retrieved 2007-06-03. 
  14. ^ "Horlacher Brewing Company". Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  15. ^ "Neuweiler Brewery". Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  16. ^ "$44 Million Guinness Investment Will Create 250 Jobs at Pennsylvania Brewery". Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  17. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  18. ^ "Normal Monthly Precipitation, Inches". Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  19. ^ "Snowfall - Average Total In Inches". Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  20. ^ "Average Days of Precipitation, .01 cm or more". Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  21. ^ "Average Monthly Precipitation". Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  22. ^ "Monthly Averages for Allentown, PA". 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  23. ^ Old Allentown Web Site
  24. ^ Whelan, Frank (June 29, 2003), "'Band' plays on words and pictures to tell informal history", The Morning Call: E.! 
  25. ^ Isherwood, Darryl R. (October 25, 2008), "Stadium's final cost hits $50.25 million", The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania),,0,6880166.story, retrieved 2008-10-25 
  26. ^ ""Minor league park was a major hit," Morning Call, March 30, 2008".,0,4139387.story. Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  27. ^ a b Long, Ernie (December 13 1999). "The Popular Stoners Were Hurt By League: ASL Got Away From What Made It Successful, Which Destroyed Allentown Team". The Morning Call. 
  28. ^ "Air Products Web Page Listing of Corporate Headquarters". Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  29. ^ "Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation - Largest Lehigh Valley Employers" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  30. ^ "100 Best Companies to Work for 2007: Lehigh Valley Hospital & Health Network". Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  31. ^ News/Events: Mack Plans Restructuring to Increase Competitiveness, Secure Long-Term Leadership Position. - News Releases 2008. - Mack Trucks. - August 14, 2008. - Retrieved: 2008-11-07
  32. ^ Richardson, Tyrone (August 15, 2008), "BULLDOG BOLTS **Mack headquarters leaving; almost 600 jobs lost", The Morning Call: A.1 
  33. ^ a b Blumenau, Kurt (April 25, 2004), "The different sides of Whitehall Mall ** MacArthur Road's first retail center has changed over time. More is to come.", The Morning Call: AA.1 
  34. ^ Blumenau, Kurt (April 8, 2007), "Valley of the malls ** The region is in the midst of biggest burst of building since 1970s.", The Morning Call: A.1 
  35. ^ a b c d Allentown, 1762-1987, a 225 Year history, Volume II, 1921-1987, Lehigh County Historical Society, 1987. Chapter Thirteen, A History of Allentown: 1966-1975
  36. ^ "2007 Top 100 Daily Newspapers in the U.S. by Circulation" (PDF). BurrellesLuce. 2007-03-31. Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  37. ^ "TV Market Maps". Echostar Knowledge Base website. Retrieved 2009-04-20. 
  38. ^ "About WFMZ-TV". WFMZ-TV official website. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  39. ^ "About Us". WBPH-TV official website. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  40. ^ "Home Page". WLVT-TV official website. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  41. ^ " - Allentown/Bethlehem, PA". Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  42. ^ "2006-2008 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates". Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  43. ^ "ACS Demographic and Housing Estimates: 2008". Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  44. ^
  45. ^ Allentown City Government Guide
  46. ^ a b "City of Allentown - City Controller". Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  47. ^ "City of Allentown - City Council Members". Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  48. ^ "City of Allentown - City Controller". Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  49. ^ "2009 CQ Press Crime Rate Rankings". 
  50. ^ "Allentown, Pennsylvania at". 
  51. ^ "Image overhaul". The Morning Call. 2008-05-29.,0,7302110.story. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  52. ^ a b Muschick, Paul (December 15, 2007), "Allentown nears slaying record ** Authorities say gangs, drug activity push up homicide numbers.", The Morning Call: A.1 
  53. ^ a b Fulton, Sarah (January 31, 2008), "Police: Street gangs on the move – and growing ** Neighborhood watch group in Allentown gets briefing on signs of a gang's presence.", The Morning Call: B.4 
  54. ^ McDonald, Joe (November 1, 2008), "Police smash lucrative meth operation ** Allentown man among 3 arrested, tied to Valley ring.", The Morning Call: B.3 
  55. ^ Darragh, Tim (August 1, 2008), "GANGBUSTING **With money running out amid mixed results, can federal program go on?", The Morning Call: A.1 
  56. ^ Pawlowski, Ed; Kelling, George (July 27, 2008), "New strategy, citizens can turn corner on crime.", The Morning Call: A.17 
  57. ^ [ "Allentown Weed and Seed Final Report."]
  58. ^ "Public School Districts". National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education (2005-06 School Year). Retrieved 2008-11-06. 
  59. ^ Haymon, Elizabeth; Weiss, Andrew (January 16, 2007), "ASD building program is about growth, quality.", The Morning Call: A.7 
  60. ^ "Course/Programs". Lehigh Carbon Community College. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  61. ^ "County eyes N.J. rail extension to area," The Morning Call, November 7, 2008.
  62. ^ "Norfolk Southern Corporate Profile".;jsessionid=Cff4GgpYGNc11LGyG1zMtKX0vKpN91jFcThnpFYFSTffvyYhY1YY!-697845123. Retrieved 2007-06-22. 
  63. ^ "R.J. Corman Railroad Group Allentown Lines". Retrieved 2007-06-22. 
  64. ^ NANP-Overlay of 610 (Pennsylvania) Numbering Plan Area (NPA) with 484 NPAPDF (359 KB)
  65. ^ PA 835 Implementation for 484/610 NPA Rescinded – 835 NPA Code ReclaimedPDF (20.8 KB)
  66. ^ Moss, Linda (August 1, 2005). "In the Keystone State, Service Electric Thrives"". Multichannel News. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  67. ^ "Rollercoaster Database: Steel Force (Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom)". Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  68. ^ a b Whelan, Frank (May 29, 2005), "West Park the iconic home for Allentown bands.", The Morning Call: E.1, 
  69. ^ a b "Allentown, PA - Parks". Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  70. ^ "Stadium Info". Lehigh Valley IronPigs official website. March 8, 2007. pp. A1. Retrieved 2007-03-08. 
  71. ^ Hiding The Bell by Ruth Nulton Moore Westminster Press, 1968
  72. ^ "A Mini-History of the 19th Street Theatre". Civic Theatre of Allentown official website. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  73. ^ a b c d e f "Historical Allentown". City of Allentown official website. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  74. ^ "Allentown Fair". Official website. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  75. ^ "The Post Office - A Community Icon" (PDF). Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  76. ^ "About Symphony Hall". Allentown Symphony Association official website. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  77. ^ "Covered Bridges of the Lehigh Valley" (PDF). Lehigh Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  78. ^ "Cedar Crest At-a-Glance". Cedar Crest College official website. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  79. ^ Hartman, William L. (1908). "The Mayors of Allentown" (PDF). Proceedings of the Lehigh County Historical Society (Allentown, Pennsylvania: Lehigh County Historical Society) (1st): 205–218. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  80. ^ "William F. Curtis Arboretum: Mission/History". Cedar Crest College official website. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  81. ^ ""Archives: Past Editorials on baseball’s departure from the Lehigh Valley", Morning Call, March 30, 2008 (originally published December 5, 1960)".,0,5271795.story. Retrieved 2008-03-30. 
  82. ^ "Admission: Frequently Asked Questions". Muhlenberg College official website. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  83. ^ "History". Liberty Bell Shrine official website. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  84. ^ "PPL History: 1920s". PPL Corporation official website. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  85. ^ "Hotel Sterling". Archiplanet website. Retrieved 2008-09-06. 
  86. ^ "National Register of Historic Places". Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  87. ^ Da Vinci Center Official Web Site
  88. ^ Lehigh County Historical Society and Lehigh Valley Heritage Center Museum Official Web Site.
  89. ^ Lehigh Valley Arts Council Official Web Site

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Allentown article)

From Wikitravel

Allentown[1] is a city in the Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania, in the United States. It is the third largest city in Pennsylvania, after Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Allentown is also the county seat of Lehigh County. As of a 2006 estimate, Allentown's population was 107,294. As of 2000, the population density was 6,011.5/mi²(2,320.8/km²).


Allentown was founded in 1762 by William Allen. It was then known as "Northampton Town." It was renamed "Allentown" in 1838 and it was formally incorporated as a city on March 12, 1867.

Allentown has a large Latino/Hispanic population. Hispanics make up almost 25% of Allentown's population.


Allentown lies on the Lehigh River. It is 338 feet above sea level. It is 60 miles north of Philadelphia, 90 miles west of New York City, and 80 miles east of Harrisburg. Allentown is only 15 miles west of the New Jersey state line.


The climate in Eastern Pennsylvania is unique in that it can be up to and over 100 degrees in the summer and get snow in the winter. Summers are always hot, with temperatures in the upper 80s and humidity is usually high, above 80 or 85%. Winters can be cold, with ice on the roads being a worse problem than snow, but it does snow. Some years the area will only get a few inches all season, with the last major blizzard in 1996, when Lehigh Valley saw over 2 feet of snow.

  • Lehigh Valley Covention and Visitors Bureau,
  • Lehigh Valley Visitor Center, 840 Hamilton Street, +1 610 973-2140. January through April hours: 9:30a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Monday - Friday. May through December hours: 9:30a.m. - 5:30p.m. Monday - Friday; 9:30a.m. - 2:30p.m. Saturday.


English is the dominant language in Allentown, but Spanish is also widely used. Outside of the area, you can find people speaking Pennsylvania Dutch. Other languages can be found here, such as Serian, Lebanese, Portuguese and Vietnamese.

  • "Down the shore" is a common local reference to the New Jersey beaches, located approximately 75 miles southeast from Allentown.
  • "Hoagie" refers to a submarine or sub sandwich.
  • "Soda" is used to refer to cola, pop, or any soft drink.
  • "Youse" is used to say "you all", similar to "y'all" in the south.

Fun facts

Famous people from Allentown

Allentown is known nationally as the birthplace of several famous Americans, including:

  • Michaela Conlin, actress, Fox's Bones.
  • Devon, adult film actress.
  • Lee Iacocca, former chairman, Chrysler Corporation.
  • Keith Jarrett, jazz musician.
  • Michael Johns, conservative commentator and writer, former White House speechwriter.
  • Andre Reed, former professional football player, Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins.
  • Amanda Seyfried, model and actress, The CW's Veronica Mars, HBO's Big Love and Mamma Mia!
  • Christine Taylor, actress, wife of actor Ben Stiller.
  • Lauren Weisberger, author, The Devil Wears Prada.
  • Carson Kressley, reality consultant on Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

Billy Joel's "Allentown"

Allentown was the inspiration for the 1982 Billy Joel hit song "Allentown," which appeared originally on Joel's The Nylon Curtain album.

The All American Rejects' "Move Along" video

The video for the song "Move Along" by The All American Rejects was shot in Allentown and at Dorney Park in the city.

Get in

By air

The primary and most convenient point of airline entry to Allentown and Lehigh Valley is Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE), which is less than 15 minutes away from most parts of the city. Various airlines operate out of this airport. Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is a major international airport that is about 70 miles away. Since it is a hub for several national airlines, it is easy to obtain non-stop flights to Philadelphia International compared to ABE and usually cheaper.

  • US Highway 22 is a main thoroughfare, being a 4-lane limited-access highway with a speed limit of 55 miles per hour through all of Lehigh Valley except in Easton.
  • Drivers coming from points east will want to note that all of the major bridges across the Delaware River (from New Jersey) are free eastbound, but require tolls westbound. Locating the free bridge in Phillipsburg is possible, but not recommended to those unfamiliar with the area. It is called Northampton Street for the adventurous, and only adds about half a mile to the trip (assuming you don't get easily lost).
  • From the southeast and northwest, PA Route 309 provides fairly quick access and is a good road to travel.
  • Interstate 78 and Interstate 476 (PA Turnpike; tolled) intersect very close to the city of Allentown, going in all directions north, south, east, and west.
  • PA Route 33 is the best approach for travelers from I-80 in the Poconos and points east.
  • Trans-Bridge bus line offers daily service from downtown Allentown to and from New York City and Newark, New Jersey. There are several express buses per day into New York City.
  • Carl Bieber Tourways offers daily service to New York City, Atlantic City,Philadelphia and other regionally located cities leaving from Wescoesville. It also provides bus service within Lehigh Valley and its surrounding areas, including to and from Reading.

The city is served by a regional bus service, LANTA, whose transportation center is located in downtown Allentown, providing convenient service to and from the center city. Every LANTA bus is equipped with a bike rack.

Get around

Allentown is relatively easy to navigate. Most of the city is easily walkable or bikeable.

The main east-west streets are listed from north to south: Sumner, Whitehall, Greenleaf, Cedar, Washington, Green, Tilghman, Allen, Liberty, Gordon, Chew, Turner, Linden, Hamilton, Walnut, and Union. Numbered streets run from north to south. They begin towards the east at 1 and continue to 42.

By bus

Extensive bus services are provided by Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANTA). [2]

By cab

Several cab companies also operate throughout Allentown and Lehigh Valley. These are:

  • Lehigh Valley Taxi, 610-867-6000
  • Quick Service Taxi, 610-434-8132
  • Car One of Allentown, 610-266-9770 or 1-877-LVIACAR
  • Premium Taxi LLC, 610-433-7550
  • Anytime Taxi by J&J, 610-439-9241

By car

Most visitors to Lehigh Valley will want to either rent a car or drive their own.

  • Due to the fact that 7th street in Allentown is one-way, if you aim to go north to Whitehall, you will want to be on 6th street. Be forewarned, Route 145 turns off 6th Street at Greenleaf Street for one block, and then joins 7th Street (begins as two ways). Continuing on 6th will bring you to the same place, but will not carry the PA-145 designation.
  • Hamilton Street is a continuation of US 222/ Hamilton Boulevard and provides easy access for travelers from Reading & Lancaster. Hamilton Street continues into nearby Bethlehem as Hanover Avenue, providing direct access to its downtown as well.
  • Tilghman Street is also a useful east-west urban thoroughfare that also provides access to Bethlehem, as Union Boulevard, and Easton as well.
  • US Route 22 is a 4 lane limited-access freeway across the north side of the city, and is often the best route of approach. However, this road is prone to minor traffic jams and accidents, especially during rush hour. Don't panic, though; most traffic jams are only a mile or so long, and usually take less than half an hour before opening up into freer travel.
  • Interstate 78 is a better bet during rush hours as it is as wide as eight lanes in some areas.

By bike

Riding a bike can also get you around in Allentown and its fabulous park system.

Allentown is a city. When you ride it and park it, make sure you lock it. A Bike Line of Alllentown will rent bikes.[3] Little Lehigh Parkway and Jordan Creek Park are accessible to pedal through. Cyclists can access a trail head at Canal Park to get on the Tow Path to take them to Bethlehem and Easton.

Allentown is known for its extensive trail and park systems. Of special interest to visitors will be the Bridle Path in Lehigh Parkway (stop to feed the fish in the Fish Hatchery, go to the Museum of Indian Culture or pedal along a trail that takes you to a covered bridge).

On foot

The main Allentown downtown area is small and easy to walk. You may want to park your car in one of the many garages and walk downtown.

  • Cedar Beach Park, W. Hamilton Blvd., +1 610 437-6900.  edit
  • Great Allentown Fair, 302 N 17 Street (corner of 17th St. and Chew St.), +1 610 433-7541 (, fax: +1 610 433-4005), [4]. Annually late August/early September - just before Labor Day. The Great Allentown Fair is an annual event that is over 150 years strong. It offers a unique experience that includes everything from family-owned food stands to a bill of national musical acts. The fair brings the world of the county fair and the street carnival together to provide visitors with an experience that helps to make Allentown a distinctive destination. At other times of the year, various events are held at the fairgrounds, including concerts, gigantic flea markets, antique sales, computer shows, and an assortment of many other shows and expos.  edit
  • Mayfair, [5]. Mayfair Festival of the Arts takes place over Memorial Day weekend. It brings outstanding performers and artisans to Allentown’s scenic Cedar Beach Park to put their talents on display. With six performance stages, over 100 artists and craftspeople, roving entertainers, and more than two dozen vendors offering authentic regional foods, Mayfair is a feast of sights, sounds, and smells.  edit
  • Allentown Art Museum, 31 N. Fifth Street, +1 610 432-4333, [6]. World-class permanent art collection with changing exhibits.  edit
  • Allentown Municipal Golf Course, 3400 W. Tilghman Street, +1 610 395-5108, [7]. Public golf course located in Allentown's West End. Great course at great value.  edit
  • Allentown Symphony Orchestra, 23 N. Sixth Street, +1 610 432-6715, [8].  edit
  • America On Wheels Museum, 5 N. Front Street, +1 610 432-4200, [9]. Museum showing the history of wheeled transportation.  edit
  • Civic Theatre of Allentown, 527 N. 19th Street, +1 610 432-8943, [10]. Great local theatre that shows art movies and foreign flicks in between productions.  edit
  • Da Vinci Science Center, 3145 Hamilton Blvd., +1 484 664-1002, [11].  edit
  • Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom, 3830 Dorney Park Road, +1 610 395-3724, [12]. Located on the west end of Hamilton Boulevard near Interstate 78, this popular amusement park and water park is home to at least six world-class roller coasters, including the 200-foot-tall Steel Force, multi-looping coasters Talon and Hydra: The Revenge, and antique wooden roller coaster Thunderhawk. The park is open from early May to the end of October, and the waterpark is open from late May to early September. During the times that the waterpark is open, waterpark admission is included in the price of admission to the regular park, and guests can move freely back and forth between the two interconnected parks.  edit
  • High school athletics. Allentown's three high schools and most large Lehigh Valley high schools compete athletically in the Lehigh Valley Conference, widely recognized as one of the highest quality athletic divisions in the nation. The conference has produced numerous professional and Olympic athletes and is especially known for its quality football and wrestling programs.  edit
  • Lehigh Valley Grand Prix, 649 S. 10th Street, +1 610 432-RACE, [13]. Gas-powered go karts!  edit
  • Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum, 432 W. Walnut Street, [14]. Exhibit galleries, library and area archives.  edit
  • Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 1050 IronPigs Way, +1 610 841-PIGS, [15]. The AAA-level minor league team of the 2008 World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies play their home games from early April through early October at Allentown's Coca-Cola Park. Tickets: (610) 841-PIGS.  edit
  • Liberty Bell Museum, 622 W. Hamilton St., [16]. See special exhibits and ring a full-size replica of the Liberty Bell which was hidden from the British in this historic church during the Revolutionary War.  edit
  • MunOpCo Music Theatre, 1544 Hamilton Street, 610-437-2441, [17].  edit
  • Museum of Indian Culture, 2825 Fish Hatchery Road, [18]. Museum that preserves the history of the Lenape tribe and other regional Native Americans.  edit
  • Philadelphia Force, 610-841-SOFT, [19]. Professional women's softball. Even though they have a Philadelphia name, they play their home games in Allentown.  edit
  • Playdrome Rose Bowl, 801 N. 15th St., 610-437-4606, [20]. Bowling.  edit
  • Repertory Dance Theatre, 1402 Linden Street, 610-965-6216, [21].  edit
  • Skiing. This is a popular activity in nearby mountains. Most skiing areas are closed seasonally, since snow can usually only be manufactured from about November to April. Bear Creek Mountain Resort[22] and Blue Mountain Ski Area[23] are a short drive away in Macungie and Palmerton, respectively. Larger, world-famous ski resorts, including Jack Frost & Big Boulder[24], are located in the Poconos, about 1 hour drive north on Interstate 476.  edit


Allentown is home to Muhlenberg College[25], Cedar Crest College[26] and the Donley Center, the downtown Allentown campus of Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC). Other colleges are located throughout Lehigh Valley.


The largest employer in Allentown is Lehigh Valley Hospital, with over 7,800 workers. Other companies headquartered here are Air Products & Chemicals, LSI, St. Lukes Hospital, Blue Cross and PPL. Allentown was once an important manufacturing center in the region. Today, small scale manufacturing is still an important part of the local economy.

Allentown is the county seat for Lehigh County. Downtown Allentown is an important employment center with approximately 15,000 people working there.

  • Much of the Allentown area's shopping is actually located in neighboring Whitehall, which is about five minutes north of downtown via PA Route 145, which is also Whitehall's main commercial street. Route 145, also known as MacArthur Road (7th Street in Allentown) is home to the Lehigh Valley Mall,[27] anchored by Macy's, JCPenny, and Boscov's; a new upscale wing has been added to the mall with stores including Williams-Sonoma, J crew, Pottery Barn and Ann Taylor. There are other stores on MacArthur Road and also on the intersecting Grape Street, including Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Best Buy, Kmart, Home Depot, Sports Authority, Dicks Sporting Goods, Burlington Coat Factory, Giant Food, Staples, and the smaller Whitehall Mall, anchored by Sears and Kohl's. [28]
  • A second Allentown mall, South Mall, anchored by Bon Ton, Black Rose Antiques, Staples, Petco, and Stein Mart, is located on Lehigh Street, in west Allentown's border with Salisbury Township and Emmaus.[29].
  • The 19th Street area near Muhlenberg College is a funky little commercial district with a coffee shop and art house movie theatre.
  • A small commercial district is also available on the eastern portion of Union Boulevard, near Plymouth Street, Club Avenue, and Pennsylvania Avenue. This area houses Giant Food, Marshalls, Dan Schantz Greenhouse[30], Wells Fargo, Staples, HomeGoods, a Big Lots and other stores.
  • For an original shopping experience, try the Allentown Farmers Market. Located at 17th and Chew streets, this farmers market features everything from fresh meat and produce to local gifts.[31]
  • For local produce, go to the Plaza Growers Market on Wednesdays at lunch over the growing season, May through October. It's located on Hamilton Street in the downtown between 8th and 9th.
  • Merchants Square Mall features antiques and collectibles. Located at 1901 South 12th Street.[32]
  • More shopping is available at Crest Plaza' on the west side of Allentown, on Cedar Crest Boulevard, including Weis Markets, Fashion Bug and Target Greatland.
  • The Promenade Shoppes at Saucon Valley, located outside of Allentown in Upper Saucon Township, is a newer and very upscale shopping destination, which also includes restaurants and Lehigh Valley's largest movie theater. Anchor stores include Ann Taylor, Sage, Banana Republic, and Brooks Brothers.[33].
  • Two new shopping centers are being built on the East Side of Allentown. On Airport Road, there is large shopping center, Airport Center, currently housing The Christmas Tree Shop, A.C. Moore, Golf Galaxy, Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Target, Ross, Zoup!, GameStop, Sleepy's, and a few more. Future plans include Sam's Club and a few others. The other shopping center, Hanover Commons, is located on Hanover Avenue and recently went under renovations. The only current stores are Popeye's, Philly Pretzel Factory, and Family Dollar.
  • Valley Plaza, on Catasaqua Road, houses Ollie's Bargain Outlet and smaller stores. Carmike Cinemas and BJ's are located nearby.
  • A shopping center on South 4th Street has a Kmart and a PriceRite, with most other stores being vacant. The center has a few armed security guards on patrol. There is higher security in the area due to the proximity of the Cumberland Gardens housing projects and the crime from the area.
  • Weil's Antique Center, 2200 31st St., 610-791-7910, [34].  edit
  • Josh Early Candies, 4640 W. Tilghman St., 610-395-4321, [35]. Family owned & operated. Home-made chocolate and other sweets.  edit
  • Dan's Camera City, 1439 W. Fairmont St., 610-434-2313, [36]. Get film developed. Print digital prints while you wait. Create cool gifts using your own photos. Camera equipment for sale and rent.  edit
  • From the area of Cedar Beach Park to Dorney Park there are a slew of shops along Hamilton Street/Hamilton Boulevard/PA-222 (same street, three names). Heading from downtown Allentown going north toward Interstate 78, there's Phoebe Floral & Home Decor[37], PopCorn To Go[38], and the shops at 3900 Hamilton Center[39], like a Robbin's Jewelers, just to name a few.
  • Warner Stained Glass, 795 Roble Road, 610-264-1100, [40].  edit
  • Allentown offers numerous family-run eateries featuring authentic ethnic cuisine. These include Japanese, Chinese, Lebanese, Mexican, Jamaican, Dominican and Puerto Rican restaurants.
  • Cali Burrito, 3104 Hamilton Blvd., 610-351-1791, [41]. California-style Mexican cuisine. Organic, vegetarian, vegan. Laid-back vibe.  edit
  • Cold Stone Creamery, 1530 N. Cedar Crest Blvd., +1 610 395 8260, [42].  edit
  • Cold Stone Creamery, 1042 Mill Creek Rd., [43].  edit
  • Five Guys, 4025 Tilghman Street., 610-336-9315.  edit
  • Kids Castle, 1193 Airport Rd, 610-435-1432, [44]. Kid-friendly fast food.  edit
  • La Dolce Vita Italian Bakery, 5531 Hamilton Boulevard, 610-395-8875, [45]. Reasonably priced Italian.  edit
  • Libery Street Tavern & Pizzeria, 2246 Liberty Street, 484-221-8765, [46]. Bar food and Italian cuisine, Taco Tuesdays.  edit
  • Vince's Cheesesteaks, 1091 Mill Creek Rd., +1 610 395-6500, [47]. Well known shop serving their famous cheesesteaks as well as pizza and subs.  edit
  • Wally's Deli, 711 N. 17th St., +1 610 435-7177, [48]. M-W 7AM-6PM, Th-F 7AM-7PM, Sa 7AM-6PM. A popular, locally owned place with several Lehigh Valley locations. In Allentown, it is located on 17th street.  edit
  • Willy Joe's, 2407 Lehigh Street, 610-797-7009. A local favorite for hot dogs, steak sandwiches, fries. Family dining.  edit
  • Yocco's. This small hot dog chain is considered to be a local favorite, and is a must-try for first time visitors to Allentown. There are six Yocco's locations in Allentown and its surrounding suburbs.  edit
  • Zandy's Steak Shop, 813 St. John Street, +1 610 434 7874, [49]. Another must try for anyone coming to Lehigh Valley. A local version of the Philly steak sandwich.  edit
  • A variety of casual dining and fast food restaurants are available around the Whitehall and Cedar Crest Boulevard business districts, as well as in Center City. You can even catch a hot dog on the street from a vendor on Hamilton Street or 7th Street.
  • Allentown Brew Works, 812-816 Hamilton Street, 610-433-7777, [50]. This restaurant is a second location modeled after the Bethlehem Brew Works also owned by the Fegley Family. A micro brewery, the four-level restaurant serves upscale bar fare.  edit
  • Asia, 1102 E. Susquehanna St., 610-798-7777, [51]. Selected as top 100 Chinese restaurants in USA 2007 & 2008. The Morning Call Readers Choice winner for Best Chinese Restaurant.  edit
  • Bellissimo Restaurante, 1243 Tilghman St., 610-770-7717. Traditional Italian Cuisine.  edit
  • Black Orchid, 1207 W. Chew Street, 484-664-7733. European & American Southern cuisine.  edit
  • Boston's, 327 Star Road, 610-841-5900, [52]. Gourmet pizza & sports bar.  edit
  • The Brass Rail, 610 797-1927, [53]. Known for their cheesesteaks and sandwiches as well as a casual restaurant. M-Th 7am-Mid, F-Sa 7am-1am, Su 8am-10pm.  edit
  • Bull & Bear Restaurant, 462 Union Blvd, 610-432-5230, [54]. American style food  edit
  • Charlie Brown's Steakhouse, 1908 Walbert Avenue, 610-437-1070. Known for their steak, prime ribs, and large salad bar  edit
  • Foo Joy Chinese Restaurant. A family owned Chinese food restaurant near Dorney Park (Hamilton Blvd. & Cedar Crest) Free delivery 610-432-1800 [55]  edit
  • Gregory's. A local restaurant just north of the airport, at the junction of Airport Road (Old Airport Road) and Catausauqua Road. Gregory's is famous for its 120-ounce steak, the largest in the world.  edit
  • Grumpy's Bar-B-Que Roadhouse, 3000 Mauch Chunk Rd., 610-769-4600, [56]. Wood-pit bar-b-que. Southern cuisine.  edit
  • Ichiban Japanese Steak House, 1914 Catasauqua Road, 610-266-7781, [57]. Hibachi-style Japanese steak house.  edit
  • Jack Creek Steakhouse & Cantina, 1900 Catasauqua Road, 610-264-888. Family owned. Casual. Southwest steakhouse.  edit
  • Mi Piace Italian Kitchen, 5661 Hamilton Blvd, 610-398-8875, [58]. Italian, including pizza.  edit
  • On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, 909 Airport Center Dr., 610-264-5972, [59]. Casual, Mexican cuisine.  edit
  • Pistachio's, in the King's shopping center on Cedar Crest Blvd. across the street from the Da Vinci Science Center adjacent to the Cedar Crest Collge campus. Martini bar, and Italian-fusion food, modern-looking dining area, a bit loud and busy on weekends, but for a reason!
  • Pitchers Sports Bar & Grille, 570 Union Blvd, 610-841-4001.  edit
  • Rascal's Food & Fun, 6616 Ruppsville Rd, 610-366-1130, [60]. American cuisine with arcade games. Similar to a Dave & Buster's.  edit
  • Red Robin, 4688 Broadway, 610-366-1776, [61]. Gourmet burgers. Located right by AMC movie theatre; makes for a great dinner before a movie.  edit
  • Red Robin, 1875 Airport Rd, 610-266-1776, [62]. Gourmet burgers. Close to the Lehigh Valley International Airport and several hotels.  edit
  • Sunset Grille, 6751 Ruppsville Rd, 610-395-9622. Mexican cusine  edit
  • T.G.I. Friday's, 395 S Cedar Crest Blvd, 610-776-8188, [63]. National chain, less than 5 minutes from Dorney Park. Good stop after a day at the park.  edit
  • Taste of Italy Ristorante, 1860 Catasauqua Rd, 610-266-8011, [64].  edit
  • Bacio Italian Restaurant, 1259 South Cedar Crest Blvd., 610-821-1102, [65]. Upscale Italian cuisine.
  • Bay Leaf, 935 W. Hamilton Street, 610-433-4211, [66] - New American and Asian cuisine. Highly recommended, very good, complete menu and great service.
  • Bellissimo Ristorante, 1243 Tilghman St, 610-770-7717, [67].  edit
  • Grille 3501, 3501 Broadway, 610-706-0100, [68]. Fine fusion cuisine with an eclectic martini bar.
  • King George Inn, 3141 Hamilton Blvd. at Cedar Crest Blvd., 610-435-1723, [69]. Friendly atmosphere.
  • Louie's Italian Restaurant, 2071 31st St SW, (610) 791-1226, [70]. Family owned traditional Italian food since 1958.
  • Mango's Coastal Cuisine, 3750 Hamilton Street, 610-432-4420, [71]. Mediterranean Rim cuisine with Latin American influences. Known for their tapas menu.
  • Morgan's, 3079 Willow St, 610-769-4100, [72].  edit
  • Youell's Oyster House, 23rd & Walnut Streets, 610-439-1203, [73]. Excellent seafood. Reservations a must.  edit


Allentown is well known for its nightlife, and many Allentown clubs feature major New York City, Philadelphia and Allentown DJs and live bands. They include:

  • Allentown Brew Works (same listing as above) 812-816 Hamilton Street, 610-433-7777. Has bars on three levels, including the Silk Lounge on the lower level. Live comedy. [74].
  • Bada-Bing-Bada-Boom Goodfellas, 2327 Hanover Avenue, (484) 661-1936[75]
  • B&B Piano Bar, 248 N. 9th Street, (484) 221-8278. Piano bar.
  • BPM Club, N. Race and W. Court Street, (610) 433-0503. Nightclub.
  • Big Woody's Pizza & Sports Bar, 1200 W. Liberty St., (610) 820-3866. Sports bar.
  • Bull and Bear Restaurant, 462 Union Blvd., (610) 432-5230. Restaurant and bar. Live music.
  • Candida, 247 N. 12th St., (610) 434-3071. Tavern.
  • Chess N' Checkers Pub, 1801 Airport Rd., (610) 264-4131. Restaurant and pub bar.
  • Chicken Lounge, 3245 Hamilton Blvd., (610) 439-1707. Lounge and bar.
  • Club Horizon, 1221 Airport Rd., (610) 841-7000. Nightclub.
  • Crocodile Rock Cafe, 520 W. Hamilton St., +1 610 434-4600, [76]. A popular night spot on Hamilton St. in Center City. Nationally known rock, metal, and hip-hop artists perform at "Croc Rock." One of the premier live music venues in eastern Pennsylvania. Headline performers include Fabolous, Pitbull, Hollywood Undead, Sean Kingston, and New Boyz.  edit
  • Erv's, 1231 Airport Road S., (610) 433-3311. [77]
  • Greg's West End Saloon, 1839 W. Tilghman St., (610) 351-9366. Bar.
  • Liberty Street Tavern, 2246 W. Liberty St., (610) 221-8765. Bar.[78].
  • Jack Callaghan's Ale House, 2027 Tilghman St., (610) 432-5797. Restaurant and pub.[79].
  • Maingate Nightclub, 448 N. 17th Street, (610) 776-7711. Large and festive nightclub with modern dance and hip hop music, large dance floor, outside bars open in summer. Dance and hip hop music spun by top New York City, Philadelphia and Allentown DJs. Also has periodic under 21 nights.[80]
  • MIXX Nightclub and Sports, 801 N. 15th Street, (610) 437-3970. Major sports bar with multiple televisions. Jam-packed for most Philadelphia Eagles games. DJs and periodic live bands.
  • Pig Pen Sports Bar & Grill, 702 Union Blvd., (610) 435-7451. Sports bar, bowling alley, and arcade.[81]
  • Pitchers Sports Bar & Grille, 570 Union Blvd., (610) 841-4001. Sports bar.[82].
  • Rookie's Restaurant and Sports Bar, 1328 Tilghman St., (610) 821-8484. Sports restaurant and bar best known for its individual televisions at each table. Live music on weekends. Tends to draw some New York and Pittsburgh sports fans in a primarily Philadelphia sports market.[83].
  • Scarlet's Grand International, 2131 Lehigh Street, (610) 798-7000. [84]
  • South Side Bar & Grill, 1608 S. 4th Street, (610) 791-3241. Bar and restaurant. Live music and DJs.
  • Starbucks Coffee, 4025 W. Tilghman Street, (610) 530-1425. Coffeehouse.
  • Starbucks Coffee, 3300 Lehigh Street, (610) 791-4716. Coffeehouse.
  • Starbucks Coffee, 6379 Hamilton Boulevard, (610) 336-0290. Coffeehouse.
  • Sterling Hotel, 343 W. Hamilton St., (610) 433-3480. Historic hotel, built in late 1800s, featuring live rock and heavy metal bands. Two large nightclub rooms. Sterling also has the longest bar in the U.S. anywhere east of the Mississippi River. Sometimes has admission lines on busy nights.[85].
  • Stonewall Bar, 28 N. 10th St., (610) 432-0215. Live and dance music. [86].
  • The Brass Rail, 3015 Lehigh St., +1 610 797-1927 (), [87].  edit Casual bar environment set aside from restaurant with televised sports. Reasonably priced drinks.
  • Teddy's Jetport Lounge, 3400 Airport Rd., (610) 266-1000. Large nightclub with live rock music acts, sometimes featuring two or more bands an evening.
  • Volpe's Sports Bar, 1926 W. Tilghman St., (610) 435-0311. Sports bar.
  • Yes Nightclub, 339 Hamilton Street, (610) 433-0503. Up and coming center city nightclub. Upscale attire usually required. Major dance music DJs and periodically live bands.[88].
  • Allentown Comfort Suites, 3712 Hamilton Blvd., +1 610 437-9100, [89].  edit
  • Allenwood Motel, 1058 Hausman Rd., +1 610 395-3707.  edit
  • Best Western Allentown Inn & Suites, 5630 W. Tilghman St., +1 610 530-5545, [90].  edit
  • Comfort Inn - Lehigh Valley West, 7625 Imperial Way, +1 610 391-0344, [91].  edit
  • Days Inn, 2622 Lehigh St., +1 610 797-1234, [92].  edit
  • Econo Lodge, 2115 Downyflake Ln., +1 610 797-2200, [93].  edit
  • Four Points Sheraton Airport, 3400 Airport Rd., +1 610 266-1000, [94].  edit
  • Glasbern, 2141 Pack House Road, +1 610 285-4723, [95].  edit
  • Hampton Inn, 7471 Keebler Way, +1 610 391-1500, [96].  edit
  • Hawthorne Suites, 7720 Main Street, +1 610 366-9422, [97].  edit
  • Hilton Garden Inn Allentown Airport, 1787 Airport Road, +1 610 443-1400, [98].  edit
  • Hilton Garden Inn Allentown West, 230 Sycamore Road, +1 610 398-6686, [99].  edit
  • Holiday Inn Allentown Center City, 904 W Hamilton St., +1 610 433-2221, [100].  edit Within a short walk of Allentown Brew Works, Liberty Bell Shrine and other downtown museums and attractions. Hotel just underwent major renovation. Made in Brazil, Brazilian Steakhouse to open here 10/09. Plentiful parking.
  • Holiday Inn Conference Center Lehigh Valley, 7736 Adrienne Drive, 610-391-1000 (fax: +1 610 391-1664), [101]. Holiday Inn Conference Center Lehigh Valley is a full-service PA hotel near downtown Allentown with conference rooms and vacation packages.  edit
  • Holiday Inn Express, 3620 Hamilton Blvd, +1 610 437-9255, [102].  edit
  • Howard Johnson Inn & Suites, 3220 Hamilton Blvd., +1 610 439-4000, [103].  edit
  • Iron Run Motel, 6530 W. Tilghman St., +1 610 395-8892.  edit
  • Knights Inn & Suites, 1880 Steelstone Rd., +1 610 266-9070, [104].  edit
  • Lehigh Motor Inn, 5828 Memorial Rd., +1 610 395-3331, [105].  edit
  • Quality Inn & Suites, 1715 Plaza Lane (15th St Exit Off Rt 22), +1 610 435-7880, [106].  edit
  • Red Carpet Inn, 731 Hausman Rd., +1 610 395-3377, [107].  edit
  • Red Roof Inn, 1846 Catasaqua Rd., +1 610 264-5404, [108].  edit
  • Rodeway Inn Conference Center, 1151 Bulldog Rd., +1 610 395-3731, [109].  edit
  • Scottish Inns & Suites Airport, 1701 Catasaqua Rd., +1 610 264-7531, [110].  edit
  • Sleep Inn, 327 Star Rd., +1 610 395-6603, [111].  edit
  • Staybridge Suites Allentown Airport, 1787 Airport Rd., +1 610 443-5000, [112].  edit
  • Staybridge Suites West, 327 Star Rd, +1 610 841-5100, [113].  edit
  • Super 8 Motel, 1033 Airport Rd, +1 610 434 9550, [114].  edit
  • Wingate Inn, 4325 Hamilton Blvd., +1 610 366-1600, [115].  edit

Stay safe

Allentown is a generally safe city for its size.

The entire downtown area is no place to walk around alone after dark. The Hamelton Mall area is ok, well lit and well patroled.

Stay Healthy


If you are in need of medical attention, here are some hospitals in the area:

  • Sacred Heart Hospital [116], 421 Chew St, Allentown, 610-776-4500
  • Lehigh Valley Hospital - 17th Street [117], 1627 W Chew St, Allentown, 610-402-CARE
  • Lehigh Valley Hospital - Cedar Crest [118], 1200 S Cedar Crest Blvd, Allentown, 610-402-CARE
  • St. Luke's Hospital [119], 1736 Hamilton St, Allentown, 610-628-8300
  • Allentown State Hospital [120], 1600 Hanover Ave, Allentown, 610-740-3400


As in many parts of the country, citizens may not want to share religious or political views. The area is becoming more diverse in race with many Spanish speaking citizens.


Allentown is a city where you must dial an area code when you place a call. Area codes in the Lehigh Valley are 610 and 484. Another overlay, 835, is planned, but is not active yet. You may still find some payphones on the street.


Religious Services

Website for the Diocese of Allentown[121]
Catholic churches:

  • Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena is the home of the bishop of the Allentown diocese. +1 610 433-6461.[122]
  • Immaculate Conception. +1 610 433-4404.
  • Our Lady Help of Christians. +1 610 432-9384.[123]
  • St. Francis of Assisi. +1 610 433-6102.[124]
  • St. John the Baptist. +1 610 432-0034.[125]
  • St. Stephen of Hungary. +1 610 439-0111.
  • St. Thomas More. +1 610 433-7413.[126]
  • SS. Peter and Paul. +1 610 432-2252.[127]

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints:

  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. +1 610 799-3523.

Episcopal churches:

  • The Episcopal Church of the Mediator. +1 610 434-0155. [128]
  • Grace Episcopal Church. +1 610 435-0782.

[129] Hindu:

  • Hindu Temple Society. +1 610 264-2810.[130]


  • Congregation Sons of Israel. +1 610 433-6089.[131]


  • Lehigh Valley Islamic Center. +1 610 799-6223.[132]
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

Simple English

[[File:|300px|thumb|right|Downtown Allentown]] Allentown is a city that is in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. After Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, it is Pennsylvania's third most populous city, meaning it has the most people. As of the 2000 census, the city had 106,632 people. It is the county seat of Lehigh County.

The town is in east Pennsylvania about 45 minutes away from the Pocono Mountains.


Allentown history


The city of Allentown was first home to people in 1735. It was then named a Northampton town (Northampton-Towne) in 1762 by William Allen, a rich shipping merchant, Chief Justice of the Province of Pennsylvania and mayor, or leader, of Philadelphia in the past.[1] The town was made on a 5,000-acre area Allen got for money in 1735 from the sons of William Penn. Allen hoped that Northampton-Towne would become a commercial center because of it being on the Lehigh River and how it was near Philadelphia. Allen gave the area to his son, James, who built a summer home, Trout Hall, there in 1770.

On March 18 1811, the town became a borough. On March 6 1812, Lehigh County was made from the west part of Northampton County, and Northampton was made the county seat. The name of the town became "Allentown" on April 16 1833 because it was liked by people. Allentown was made a city on March 12 1867.

File:Libertybell alone
The Liberty Bell was hidden in Allentown's Old Zion Reformed Church from September 24 1777 to June 1778

Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell was kept away from the British during the American Revolutionary War in Allentown. After George Washington lost the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, the revolutionary capital of Philadelphia did not have defense, and got ready for the British to attack. The Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania said that eleven bells, like the State House bell and the bells from Philadelphia's Christ Church and St. Peter's Church, should be taken down and taken away from the city to stop the British, who would melt the bells down to and make into cannons, from taking the bells. The bells were moved north to Northampton-Towne, and put in the basement of the Old Zion Reformed Church, in what is now center of Allentown. Today, a shrine in the church's basement marks the same spot where the Liberty Bell was.

Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution

Before the 1830s, Allentown was a small town with only local markets. When the Lehigh Canal was made the economy got bigger. The town changed with industrialization and became one of the United States' biggest areas for big industry and manufacturing. While Allentown was not as big as Bethlehem, the city right next to it, the iron industry in the area still gave many jobs to the city. Railroads, like the Lehigh Valley Railroad, were very important to move raw materials and made goods, and made many new jobs.

Allentown also had a strong tradition in the making of beer and was home to many breweries people knew, like the Horlacher Brewery (founded 1897, closed 1978).

Early 20th century to present

File:Allentown 1900s.gif
Allentown in 1901

Economic recovery in the early 20th century was caused by the silk and textile industry. The Adelaide Silk Mill, which was one of the biggest mills in the world, opened in Allentown in 1881. By 1928, there were more than 140 silk and textile mills in the Lehigh Valley which made silk the second biggest industry. By the 1930s, the silk industry was getting slow in all the world because synthetics were taking the place of silk. Catoir Silk Mill, the last silk mill in Allentown, closed in 1989. In 1905, Mack Trucks moved to Macungie, a small suburb of Allentown, which began Allentown's focus on big industrial manufacturing. Today, Allentown's economy is mostly service industries.


Allentown's climate is called humid continental. Summers are hot and muggy, fall and spring are mild, and winter is cold. Precipitation is almost spread throughout the year at the same rate. Allentown's weather is affected by the Blue Mountain, a mountain ridge from 1,000 to 1,600 feet high about 12 miles north of the city, and South Mountain, a mountain ridge of 500 to 1,000 feet high that is south of the cirty.


  1. "Lehigh County - 4th class". Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Retrieved 2007-06-03. 

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address