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Map of the Lehigh Valley

Common name: Lehigh Valley
Largest city Allentown
Other cities  - Bethlehem
 - Easton
 - Phillipsburg
Population  Ranked 62nd in the U.S.
 - Total 808,210 (2008 est.)[1]
 - Density 1,105/sq. mi. 
Area 42 radius miles sq. mi.
1,176 km²
State(s)   - Pennsylvania
 - New Jersey
 - Highest point 2180+ [2] feet (664+ [2] m)
 - Lowest point 211 feet (64 m)

The Lehigh Valley, also known as the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ metropolitan area and referred to locally as The Valley, officially is a metropolitan region consisting of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties in eastern Pennsylvania and Warren county on the western edge of New Jersey, in the United States.[3]

The Lehigh Valley is the third most populous region of Pennsylvania, following metropolitan Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and the 62nd most populated metropolitan area in the U.S. The region is named for the Lehigh River, which runs through it. It is part of the Great Appalachian Valley.


Cities and location

The skyline of Allentown, Pennsylvania, the largest Lehigh Valley city, 2008.

The Lehigh Valley's principal cities are Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, comprising the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton metropolitan area. The traditional bounds of the region are The Poconos to the north, the Delaware River to the east, the boundaries of Berks County and Montgomery County to the southwest, and the boundary with Bucks County to the south. More recently, however, the area around Phillipsburg, New Jersey west of Pohatcong Mountain, parts of upper Bucks County around Quakertown, and portions of northeastern Berks County and southwestern Carbon County in Pennsylvania are considered outer parts of the Valley.

The Lehigh Valley is located approximately 50 miles (96 km) north of Philadelphia, the country's sixth largest city, 80 miles (129 km) east of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's capital, and 70 miles (144 km) west of New York City, the country's largest city. The Valley is home to some 790,000 people. Recent census studies show it to be the fastest growing region of the state, due mostly to its growing popularity as a bedroom community for the highly-populated neighboring regions of Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City.

The Lehigh Valley is geologically and geographically part of the Great Appalachian Valley, a region largely made up of limestone that stretches along the eastern edge of the Appalachian Mountains. The Lehigh Valley is so named because it is composed of an actual valley that lies between two mountain ranges, Blue Mountain to the north and South Mountain to the south.


Municipalities with more than 10,000 people

Municipalities with fewer than 10,000 people

Census-designated places


The Lehigh Valley has four distinct seasons, which typically include humid summers, cold winters, and very short and mild springs and falls.

Weather data for Lehigh Valley
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[4] 2009-05-23


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1980 551,022
1990 595,081 8.0%
2000 637,958 7.2%
Est. 2008 808,210 [5] 26.7%

As of the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Lehigh Valley has a population of 808,210.[6] 87.1% of the population were White American, 4.6% were Black or African American, 0.1% were American Indian, 2.3% were Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Americans made up 0.1%, 4.3% were of some other race, and 1.5% belonged to two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 11.3% of the population.


Bethlehem Steel, located along the Lehigh River, was once one of the world's largest manufacturers of steel; its former location has been transformed into Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem

The Lehigh Valley is known historically for its production of steel, Portland cement and apparel. It has historically served as a major U.S. center of industrial manufacturing, though this role has diminished significantly in the 21st century as companies have shifted to Asia and other lower wage, off-shore locations for industrial mining and manufacturing.


Companies based in the Lehigh Valley include Air Products & Chemicals (in Trexlertown), Bethlehem Steel (which ceased operations in 2003, in Bethlehem), Crayola LLC (in Easton), Buckeye Partners (in Emmaus), Just Born (in Bethlehem), Lutron Electronics (in Coopersburg), Mack Trucks (in Allentown), Olympus Corporation USA (in Center Valley), PPL Corporation (in Allentown), Rodale Press (in Emmaus), and others.

The Lehigh Valley is also one of the larger areas on the east coast for the location of warehouses and distribution centers. This is due to the Lehigh Valley's central location in the Northeast Megalopolis. Most of these distribution centers are located along the U.S. Route 22 and Interstate 78 corridors.

After the demise of Bethlehem Steel, Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network (in Allentown), one of Pennsylvania's largest hospital systems, replaced it as the Lehigh Valley's largest employer. The Lehigh Valley's top five employers are: 1.) Lehigh Valley Hospital, 2.) St. Luke's Hospital (Bethlehem), 3.) Air Products & Chemicals, 4.) the Federal Government, and 5.) PPL Corporation.



The Lehigh Valley receives television service from Philadelphia, New York City and Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Lehigh Valley-based stations include WBPH-TV, an affiliate of FamilyNet, a Christian network licensed to Bethlehem but based in Allentown; WFMZ-TV, an independent commercial television station based in Allentown; and WLVT-TV, a PBS station licensed to Allentown but based in Bethlehem.


The Lehigh Valley is home to over fifteen radio stations, spanning news, talk, and sports station, CHR/Pop music station, country music, National Public Radio, sports radio, oldies, polka, hot adult contemporary, soft rock classic rock, hard rock music station, and a variety of college radio stations.

Print media

Lehigh Valley-based daily newspapers include the Allentown The Morning Call and the Easton The Express-Times, both with rich traditions dating back to the mid-1800s. The Lehigh Valley also features Pulse Weekly, a weekly regional arts and entertainment publication, Lehigh Valley Magazine, the region's oldest lifestyle publication, and four Spanish language newspapers, Al Dia, El Hispano, El Torero, and La Cronica, among a variety of other publications.


Colleges and universities

The Lehigh Valley is a center of post-secondary education, with seven four-year colleges and universities. These include:

The Lehigh Valley is also home to three two-year colleges:

High school education

As the third most populous metropolitan region in Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Valley is served by numerous school districts, public and private high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools.

Lehigh Valley-based high schools include:

The largest Lehigh Valley high schools (12 in all) compete athletically in the Lehigh Valley Conference. Most smaller Lehigh Valley high schools compete in the Colonial League.


Club League Sport Venue Established Championships
Lehigh Valley IronPigs IL Baseball Coca-Cola Park 2008 0
Lehigh Valley Outlawz CIFL Indoor football Stabler Arena 2004 0
Northampton Laurels FC WPSL Soccer J. Birney Crum Stadium 2005 0
Pennsylvania Stoners NPSL Soccer J. Birney Crum Stadium 1979 1 (1980)
Philadelphia Force NPF Softball Bicentennial Park 2006 0

Philadelphia Eagles

The Lehigh Valley is the home of pre-season training camp for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, which is held each summer on the practice fields of Lehigh University in Bethlehem. The camp, which attracted in excess of 20,000 fans daily in July 2007, draws some of the largest crowds of any NFL team's pre-season camp.

IronPigs baseball

In early 2008, Coca-Cola Park, an 8,100-seat Minor League baseball stadium, opened in east-side Allentown.[7] The stadium hosts the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Philadelphia Phillies' AAA-level International League franchise. The team previously played as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons (1989-2006) and Ottawa Lynx (2007).[8] The club's move to the Lehigh Valley brought the franchise closer to Philadelphia and the Phillies' large eastern Pennsylvania fan base. The team’s name is a reference to pig iron, a key ingredient in the steel-making process for which the Lehigh Valley area is known worldwide.

Groundbreaking ceremonies for Coca-Cola Park were held September 6, 2006, and construction was completed in December 2007. The stadium hosted its first game on March 30, 2008, when the Phillies major league team faced the IronPigs.

Stabler Arena

Lehigh University's Stabler Arena, an indoor arena, is in Bethlehem, in the Lehigh Valley. Stabler hosts regular sporting and concert events. The arena is home to Lehigh University men's and women's college basketball teams and also to the Lehigh Valley Outlawz, an indoor football team that plays in the Continental Indoor Football League.

"The Rivalry"

The Lehigh Valley is also home to a strong collegiate football rivalry, between two local colleges: Easton's Lafayette College and Bethlehem's Lehigh University. The two teams have played each other 144 times since 1884, making it the longest uninterrupted rivalry in college football.[9]

High school athletics

The 12 largest high schools in the Lehigh Valley compete athletically in the Lehigh Valley Conference. The conference has produced numerous professional and Olympic-level athletes, and its football, basketball and wrestling teams are often ranked among the best in the nation. In USA Today's annual ranking of the nation's top high school sports teams, Liberty High School was ranked second in the Eastern United States in football in 2008 and 20th among all high schools nationally. Parkland High School was ranked fifth in the East in football in 2002 and 11th among all high schools nationally. And Allentown Central Catholic High School was ranked seventh in girls' basketball in the East in both 2001-02 and 2002-03.[10]

Currently, seven former athletes from Lehigh Valley Conference schools are on active professional athletic rosters, including four in the National Football League (Dan Koppen, New England Patriots center from Whitehall High School; Tim Massaquoi, Buffalo Bills tight end from Parkland High School; Jim Molinaro, Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle from Bethlehem Catholic High School; and Tony Stewart, Oakland Raiders tight end from Allentown Central Catholic High School); one in the National Basketball Association (Aaron Gray, Chicago Bulls center from Emmaus High School); and one in Major League Baseball (Brian Schneider, New York Mets catcher from Northampton Area High School).

Running events

The Lehigh Valley hosts the Lehigh Valley 15K Road Race annually each September. It is one of the premiere eastern Pennsylvania running events. Via of the Lehigh Valley, Inc., sponsors the Lehigh Valley Hospital Marathon, also held in September. The event features a certified marathon, five-person team relay, 20-mile training run and 5K walk. The 26.2 mile course follows the Lehigh River Canal Towpath from Allentown to Easton.


The Allentown Art Museum, based in center city Allentown, is the Lehigh Valley's largest museum. The museum's collection includes more than 11,000 works of art. Lehigh University's Zoellner Arts Center and Lafayette College's smaller Williams Center for the Arts host a wide variety of plays, concerts and performances throughout the year.

Lehigh Valley in popular music

The Lehigh Valley is the subject of four rock music songs, one folk music song and one ska reggae album:

In addition, several music videos have been filmed in the Lehigh Valley, including:


The Lehigh Valley is home to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, a popular amusement and water park. Located in South Whitehall Township, Dorney Park is known nationally for its elaborate roller coasters and water rides.

Dorney Park's Steel Force and Thunderhawk roller coasters, in South Whitehall Township in the Lehigh Valley. 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).[11]

The region's ski resorts are Bear Creek Ski and Recreation Area and Blue Mountain Ski Area. Bear Creek is a 21 slope resort located outside of Macungie, Pennsylvania. Blue Mountain is located near Danielsville, Pennsylvania. The Poconos, which feature some of the East Coast's best-known ski resorts, is approximately 30 miles (48 km) north of the Lehigh Valley. Several large lakes used for boating and fishing also are located there. The Pocono 500, a NASCAR Nextel Cup race, is run each June at Pocono Raceway in the Poconos.

New Jersey shore beaches are approximately 70 miles (110 km) to140 miles (230 km) to the east and southeast of the Lehigh Valley.

Dutch Springs, the nation's largest SCUBA amusement park, is in Bethlehem and Lower Nazareth Township. Over 40,000 divers annually utilize the facilities, which have sunken "treasures" to enhance the underwater experience. In addition to scuba diving, kayaking and paddle boats are available. The facility has a water park, camping grounds, and picnic areas.

In 2009, Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, an $879 million casino, hotel and apartment complex owned by the Las Vegas Sands opened in Bethlehem, bringing legalized gambling to the Lehigh Valley for the first time. It is one of only 13 authorized gaming sites in Pennsylvania.

Four large festivals are held each year in the Lehigh Valley. Musikfest, a large, 10-day music festival, is held in Bethlehem each August. Mayfair, an arts and crafts festival, is held in Allentown each May. In September, one of the largest celtic heritage festivals in America, The Celtic Classic, is held in Bethlehem. The Great Allentown Fair has been held on the grounds of the Allentown Fairgrounds in Allentown annually in late August through early September for more than 150 years.

Ice skating (including ice hockey, figure skating and speed skating) is popular in the Lehigh Valley and the region has three facilities. The Steel Ice Center is the premier ice skating facility, in Bethlehem on East 1st Street, not far from the Sands Casino. The Rink, formerly Lehigh Valley Ice Arena, is in Whitehall (north of Allentown) just off MacArthur Road (Route 145) on 7th Street. Each facility has two ice surfaces and public skate times are available at both facilities. The City of Bethlehem also opens a covered outdoor rink (one ice surface) annually from November through March.


The Lehigh Valley is home to many retail establishments. The largest retail area of the Lehigh Valley is the Pennsylvania Route 145/MacArthur Road Corridor, just north of Allentown. It is anchored by the Lehigh Valley Mall and the Whitehall Mall.

Other malls in the region include Palmer Park Mall (in Easton), Phillipsburg Mall (in Phillipsburg, New Jersey), South Mall (in Salisbury Township), and the Westgate Mall (in Bethlehem). In October 2006, a new Valley-based shopping mall, The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, was opened. Located off Route 309 in Upper Saucon Valley Township, The Promenade is roughly half the size of the Lehigh Valley Mall, but features more upscale stores.

Yocco's Hot Dogs, the regionally-famous fast food establishment known for their hot dogs and cheesesteaks, maintains six locations, all of which are based in the Lehigh Valley. Its original restaurant, founded in 1922, is still located at its original center city Allentown location, on West Liberty Street. Five additional Yocco's locations can be found in the Lehigh Valley (in west-side Allentown, east-side Allentown, Emmaus, Fogelsville, and Wescosville).


Air transportation

The Lehigh Valley is served by air transportation through Lehigh Valley International Airport (IATA: ABEICAO: KABE), in the Lehigh Valley's Hanover Township, three miles (5 km) northeast of Allentown.

The Valley is also served by Allentown Queen City Municipal Airport, a two-runway general aviation facility located off Allentown's Lehigh Street. Queen City is used predominantly by private aviation. The airport was awarded General Aviation Airport of the year by the Eastern Region of the Federal Aviation Administration in 2006.[12]

Other regionally-located airports include Philadelphia International Airport (in Philadelphia) and Newark Liberty International Airport (in Newark, New Jersey).

Bus transportation

Public bus service in Lehigh Valley is available through the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority, known as LANTA. In New Jersey, bus service is provided by New Jersey Transit.

Several private bus lines, including Bieber Tourways, Susquehanna Trailways and Trans-Bridge Lines, provide bus service from various Valley locations to New York City's Port Authority Bus Terminal, Philadelphia's Greyhound Terminal, Atlantic City's Bus Terminal, and other regional locations.


Passenger service to the region ceased in 1981, when several rail operators opted to curtail long-distance services. From the south, SEPTA Regional Rail limited their services to their electrified-only territory, with trains going only as far north as Lansdale and Doylestown, Pennsylvania. (In the early and mid twentieth century golden age of passenger rail, the Reading Railroad provided rail service south and west of the area. [13][14]) To the east, the Central Railroad of New Jersey ceased passenger operations into the area, from Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1967 in conjunction with the Aldene Connection.[15] In 1974, passenger service was restored to Phillipsburg under state (New Jersey) subsidy. That service was terminated in 1984. Current operator New Jersey Transit has looked at restoring rail service to Phillipsburg, New Jersey; there are no official plans to extend service over the border into Pennsylvania at present. Currently, freight operator Norfolk Southern Railway heavily serves the region, with a major classification yard in Allentown.

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.[16]


The Lehigh Valley has four major highways: Interstate 78, a major east-west highway, runs through the southern part of the Valley, duplexed with Pennsylvania Route 309. I-78 runs from Harrisburg in the west to the Holland Tunnel and New York City in the east.

U.S. Route 22 is a major freeway that runs through the Valley from Kuhnsville in the western part of the Valley to Easton in the eastern part of the Valley. U.S. Route 22 starts in Cincinnati, Ohio in the west, running through the Valley to Elizabeth, New Jersey in the east. A third highway, Pennsylvania Route 33, runs north-south through the Lehigh Valley, from the Poconos in the north to Northampton County in the south.

The fourth major highway in the Valley is Interstate 476, the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It stretches 131 miles (211 km) from Chester in the south to the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre area in the north.

Other major roads in the Valley include MacArthur Road (PA 145), a divided local road that leads to the Lehigh Valley Mall and its surrounding commercial district. Cedar Crest Boulevard, a north-south highway, runs from North Whitehall Township in the north through west-side Allentown to Emmaus in the south. Lehigh Street runs from northeast to southwest, originating in downtown Allentown and ending in Emmaus. Tilghman Street runs from Fogelsville in the west to MacArthur Road (PA 145) in the east. Tilghman Street runs through most of Allentown and also intersects with Cedar Crest Boulevard, Pennsylvania Route 100, Pennsylvania Route 309 and several other major Lehigh Valley highways.


The Lehigh Valley AVA was designated an official American Viticultural Area in March, 2008. The wine region includes 230 acres (93 ha) of vineyards, planted to several Vitis vinifera and French-American hybrid grape varieties. Fifteen to twenty percent of the wine produced commercially in Pennsylvania is made from grapes grown in the Lehigh Valley AVA.[17]

Famous people from the Lehigh Valley

The Lehigh Valley is the birthplace or home to a number of famous Americans, including:

County statistics

Geographic Area July 1, 2005 Census 2000 1990 Census 1980 Census 1970 Census
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ MSA 790,535 740,395 686,688 635,481 594,382
Carbon County, Pennsylvania 61,959 58,802 56,846 53,285 50,573
Lehigh County, Pennsylvania 330,433 312,090 291,130 272,349 255,304
Northampton County, Pennsylvania 287,767 267,066 247,105 225,418 214,368
Warren County, New Jersey 110,376 102,437 91,607 84,429 73,960
Allentown, Pennsylvania 105,231 106,632 105,301 103,758 109,871
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 68,114 71,329 71,428
Easton, Pennsylvania 26,263 26,276

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Pennsylvania County High Points". Retrieved 2007-01-01.  
  3. ^ "Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ Metro Area Reference Map". Retrieved 2009-12-19.  
  4. ^ "Monthly Averages for Allentown, PA". 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-23.  
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Coca-Cola Park Info, IronPigs Baseball Official Website". Retrieved 2008-05-05.  
  8. ^ "Baseball Reference Bullpen: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons". Retrieved 2008-05-05.  
  9. ^ "Lehigh-Lafayette Rivalry Dividing Families for 144 Years," The Daily Orange, November 13, 2007.
  10. ^ "Super 25 prep football regional rankings". USA Today. 2008-12-22. Retrieved 2009-01-09.  
  11. ^ "Rollercoaster Database: Steel Force (Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom)". Retrieved 2008-07-10.  
  12. ^ "Queen City Airport Designated General Aviation Airport of the Year by the Federal Administration Eastern Region". Lehigh Valley International Airport. Retrieved 2007-06-22.  
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "County eyes N.J. rail extension to area," The Morning Call, November 7, 2008.
  17. ^ Lauer-Williams, Kathy (2008). "Lehigh Valley wineries earn recognition". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Apr. 17, 2008.

External links


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