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Easton, Pennsylvania

Northampton County's location in Pennsylvania
Easton's location in Northampton County
Coordinates: 40°41′18″N 75°12′59″W / 40.68833°N 75.21639°W / 40.68833; -75.21639
Country  United States
State Pennsylvania
County Northampton
 - Mayor Sal Panto
 - Total 4.7 sq mi (12.0 km2)
 - Land 4.3 sq mi (11.0 km2)
 - Water 0.4 sq mi (1.0 km2)
Elevation 211 ft (64 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 26,263
 - Density 6,165/sq mi (2,380.3/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP Codes 18040, 18042-18045
Area code(s) 610
Website http://www.easton-pa.com

Easton is a city in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. The population was 26,263 as of the 2000 census, (2008 estimate was 26,080).[1] It is the county seat of Northampton County.[2]

Along with Allentown and Bethlehem, Easton is one of the primary cities that comprise the Lehigh Valley, the Pennsylvania's third most populous metropolitan area. Easton is the easternmost city of the Lehigh Valley, sitting on the confluence of the Delaware River and the Lehigh River, for which the Lehigh Valley is named. Easton is the smallest of the three Lehigh Valley cities, with approximately one-fourth of the population of the largest Lehigh Valley city, Allentown.

Easton is almost equidistant from Philadelphia, which is 60 miles (97 km) to the south, and New York City, which is 70 miles (110 km) to the east.

The city is split up into four sections: Historic Downtown, which lies directly to the north of the Lehigh River, to the west of the Delaware River, continuing west to Sixth Street; The West Ward, which lies between Sixth and Fifteenth Streets; The South Side, which lies south of the Lehigh River; and College Hill, a neighborhood on the hills to the north which is the home of Lafayette College. The boroughs of Wilson, West Easton, and Glendon are also directly adjacent to the city; the first and largest of which, Wilson, partially aligns in the same North-South Grid as the city of Easton.

The greater Easton area consists of the city, three townships (Forks, Palmer, and Williams), and three boroughs (Glendon, West Easton, and Wilson).

Centre Square, the town square of the city's Downtown neighborhood, the Soldiers' & Sailors' Monument, a memorial for Easton area veterans killed during the Civil War. The Peace Candle, a candle-like structure, is assembled and disassembled every year atop the Civil War monument Christmas season.[3]



Colonial era

The confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh rivers was a popular area long before it was settled by Europeans. The Lenape Native Americans originally referred this place as "Lechauwitank", or "The Place at the Forks". The area was part of the land obtained from the Delawares by the Walking Purchase.[4]

Thomas Penn was so inspired by the beauty of the place that he set aside a 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) tract of land here for a town. Easton was settled by Europeans in 1739 and founded in 1752,[5] and was so named at the request of Penn; he had recently married Juliana Fermor, the daughter of Lord Pomfret whose estate was called Easton Neston, near Towcester, Northamptonshire, England. As Northampton County was being formed at this time, Easton was selected as its county seat. During the French and Indian War, the Treaty of Easton was signed here by the British colonial government of the Province of Pennsylvania and the Native American tribes in the Ohio Country, including the Shawnee and Lenape.

Revolutionary War

Easton was an important military center during the American Revolutionary War. Easton was one of the first three places the Declaration of Independence was publicly read (along with Philadelphia and Trenton). It is claimed that the Easton flag was flown during that reading, making it one of the first "Stars and Stripes" to fly over the colonies.[6] This flag, which is known to date to the War of 1812, currently serves as Easton's municipal flag.

Industrial history

Easton was a major commercial center during the canal and railroad periods of the 1800s, when it was a transportation hub for the steel industry. Three canals, the Delaware, the Lehigh, and the Morris, served to connect the coal regions to the north and west, the iron works to the west, the commercial port of Philadelphia to the south, and the New York City area to the east via the a connection with the Morris Canal across the Delaware River in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. When canal transportation was largely replaced by railroads, Easton was served by five railroads, and only lost its prominence in transportation with the rise of the automobile in the mid 20th century.

Like the Pennsylvania Dutch region to the southwest, Easton has a strong German heritage. The Pennsylvania Argus, a German-language newspaper, was published in Easton until 1917. As part of their heritage, the Germans put up one of the continent's earliest Christmas trees in Easton; Daniel Foley's book states that "Another diary reference unearthed recently makes mention of a tree set-up at Easton, Pennsylvania, in 1816."[7] There is a plaque in Scott Park (along the Delaware River) commemorating this event.

Historians of angling believe that Samuel Phillipe, an Easton gunsmith, invented the six-strip split-cane Bamboo fly rod. A Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission plaque near Center Square commemorates this event.[8]

Refuge from Prohibition

During prohibition, Easton earned a reputation for nightlife in an age when the rest of the nation was dry, and Easton was referred to colloquially as "The Little Apple." Easton was a speakeasy town where liquor flowed freely, brothels were common, and the local police were known to turn a blind eye. Following the end of many Friday night fights in New York City's Madison Square Garden during this era, crowds were known to chant "Going to Easton" before boarding trains en masse for the short 67-mile (108 km) trek to where nightlife flourished.

Easton was also once known as the "City of Churches". At one time, it had the largest church-to-population ratio in the nation.


WPVI-TV coverage of flooding in Easton on June 28, 2006.

Easton is located at 40°41′18″N 75°12′59″W / 40.68833°N 75.21639°W / 40.68833; -75.21639 (40.688248, -75.216458).[9] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.7 square miles (12 km2), of which, 4.3 square miles (11 km2) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) (8.39%) is water, including Bushkill Creek and the Lehigh and Delaware rivers.

Downtown Easton lies at the confluence of the Lehigh River and Delaware River and is a low-lying area surrounded by hills to the north, west, and south. North of downtown is College Hill, the home of Lafayette College. South Easton, divided by the Lehigh River from the rest of the city, was a separate borough until 1898; it was settled initially by Native Americans, later by canal workers, and then was later the home of several silk mills.

Surrounding municipalities


Easton experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa).

Weather data for Easton
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 66
Average high °F (°C) 36
Average low °F (°C) 18
Record low °F (°C) -17
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.50
Source: Weather Channel [10] 2009-05-12


Crime rates (2008)
Crime type Rate*
Homicide: 7.7
Forcible rape: 49.9
Robbery: 299.2
Aggravated assault: 245.5
Violent crime: 602.2
Burglary: 602.1
Larceny-theft: 3,068.4
Motor vehicle theft: 253.2
Arson: 42.2
Property crime: 3,923.8
* Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.
2008 population: 26,072
Source: 2008 FBI UCR Data
Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
2000 26,263
Est. 2008 27,333 [11] 4.1%

As of the 2005-2007 United States Census Bureau estimates[12], Easton had 27,333 people. 67.5% were White, 14.8% were Black or African American, 0.0% were American Indian or Alaska Native, 2.1% were Asian, 0.2% were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 10.3% were of some other race, and 5.0% were of two or more races. 15.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 26,263 people, 9,544 households, and 5,735 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,168.4 per square mile (2,380.3/km²). There were 10,545 housing units at an average density of 2,476.7 per square mile (955.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.48% White, 12.71% African American, 0.24% Native American, 1.66% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 3.67% from other races, and 3.13% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.79% of the population.

There were 9,544 households out of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.7% were married couples living together, 16.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.9% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.3% under the age of 18, 16.3% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 97.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,162, and the median income for a family was $38,704. Males had a median income of $32,356 versus $23,609 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,949. About 12.3% of families and 16.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.3% of those under age 18 and 11.2% of those age 65 or over.


Public education

The Easton area is served by two school districts: the Easton Area School District and the Wilson Area School District.

Easton Area School District

The Easton Area Public Library.

The Easton Area School District serves the residents of the city of Easton along with Forks and Palmer Townships and two smaller non-contiguous communities: the borough of Riegelsville, Pennsylvania to the south and the village of Martins Creek, Pennsylvania to the north. The school district has seven elementary schools (Cheston, Forks, March, Palmer, Paxinosa, Shawnee and Tracy) for grades K-4, Easton Area Middle School Campus(in Forks Township) for grades 5-8 and Easton Area High School (in Palmer Township) for grades 9-12. Total student enrollment is about 9000 students in all grades.

Easton Area High School is known[14] for its long-standing athletic rivalry with Phillipsburg High School in neighboring Phillipsburg, New Jersey. The two teams play an annual football game on Thanksgiving Day that is considered one of the largest and longest-standing rivalries in American high school football. 2006 marked the 100th year anniversary of the Easton-Phillipsburg high school football rivalry[14] The game, which was shown on ESPN, was won by Easton. In 2009, Easton was the location of the Gatorade REPLAY Game in which the 1993 teams from the Easton P-Burg Game met again to resolve the game, which ended in a 7-7 tie. The REPLAY Game was won by Phillipsburg, 27-12.

Easton Area High School competes athletically in the Lehigh Valley Conference, a division comprising the 12 largest Lehigh Valley high schools. Easton holds the third most Lehigh Valley Conference championships in all sports, behind only Parkland High School and Emmaus High School.[15]

As of the 2000 census, the combined population of the municipalities in the Easton Area School District was 53,554

Wilson Area School District

The Wilson Area School District serves students of the neighboring boroughs of Wilson, West Easton, Glendon, and Williams Township.

As of the 2000 census, the combined population of the municiplalities in the Wilson Area School District was 13,671.

Wilson Area High School's football team won the 2006 Class AA State Football Championship against Jeanette 29-28 at Hershey Stadium

Post-secondary education

Easton is the home of one four-year college, Lafayette College, which was established in 1826.

Easton's Lafayette College, founded in 1826.


Downtown Easton as seen from Lafayette College.

Easton's Two Rivers Landing is the home of two interactive children's museums, the National Canal Museum, which focuses on the importance of canals in the region, and the Crayola Factory, which is owned by Crayola LLC (formerly known as Binney & Smith), a major toy manufacturer based in nearby Forks Township.[16][17] The city was also once the home of Dixie Cup Corporation, the manufacturer of Dixie Cups and other consumer products.


Easton's daily newspaper is The Express-Times. The Morning Call, based in Allentown, also is widely read in the city. Easton is part of the Philadelphia DMA, but also receives numerous radio and television channels from New York City, as well as the smaller Scranton-Wilkes-Barre media market to the northwest.

Two television stations are based the Easton area: PBS affiliate WLVT Channel 39 in Bethlehem, and independent station WFMZ Channel 69 in Allentown.

Three radio stations are based in Easton: WODE-FM "The Hawk", a classic rock station broadcasting at 99.9 FM, WCTO "Cat Country 96," a country music station broadcasting on 96.1 FM, and WJRH, a Lafayette College radio station broadcasting at 104.9 FM. In addition, WDIY-FM, a National Public Radio affiliate located in Bethlehem, maintains a translator in Easton broadcasting at 93.9 FM.


Easton is served by I-78, US 22, PA 33, PA 248 and PA 611. Trans-Bridge Lines provides regular bus service to New York City.

Air transport to and from Easton is available through Lehigh Valley International Airport, which is located approximately 15 miles (24 km) west of the city, in Hanover Township.

Easton has no passenger rail service. Until 1983 New Jersey Transit's Raritan Valley Line terminated at Phillipsburg, New Jersey, on the other side of the Delaware River from Easton. The line now stops at High Bridge, New Jersey, roughly 20 miles (32 km) to the east. Under NJT's I-78 Corridor study this service would be restored.

Notable people from Easton


  1. ^ "Population Finder: Easton, Pennsylvania". U.S. Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFPopulation?_event=ChangeGeoContext&geo_id=16000US4221648&_geoContext=01000US%7C04000US42%7C16000US4206088&_street=&_county=easton&_cityTown=easton&_state=04000US42&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&ActiveGeoDiv=geoSelect&_useEV=&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010&_submenuId=population_0&ds_name=null&_ci_nbr=null&qr_name=null&reg=null%3Anull&_keyword=&_industry=. Retrieved 2009-10-28.  
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=Find_a_County&Template=/cffiles/counties/usamap.cfm. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  3. ^ "International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers". IBEW Journal 90. 1991.  
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Northampton County - 4th class". Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/counties/pdfs/Northampton.pdf. Retrieved 2007-06-03.  
  6. ^ "Easton Heritage Day". heritageday.org. http://www.heritageday.org.  
  7. ^ Foley, Daniel J. (1960). The Christmas Tree. Philadelphia: Chilton Co., Book Division. pp. 72.  
  8. ^ Herd, Dr. Andrew N. (2005). "Sammuel Phillipe". A Fly Fishing History. http://www.flyfishinghistory.com/phillipe.htm. Retrieved 5 November 2009.  
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  10. ^ Average weather for Easton Weather Channel Retrieved 2008-05-12
  11. ^ "2008 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ACSSAFFFacts?_event=Search&geo_id=&_geoContext=&_street=&_county=easton&_cityTown=easton&_state=04000US42&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010. Retrieved 2009-10-18.  
  12. ^ http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ACSSAFFFacts?_event=Search&geo_id=&_geoContext=&_street=&_county=easton&_cityTown=easton&_state=04000US42&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  14. ^ a b Erik Brady. "Every year fields the game of the century". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/preps/football/2006-11-21-1a-cover-centenary-game_x.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-29.  
  15. ^ LVIAC Historical Stats.
  16. ^ Northampton County: Forks Township
  17. ^ [(http://www.crayola.com/Factory/ Crayola LLC: Crayola Factory]
  18. ^ Charles Sitgreaves, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed August 18, 2007.

"Easton Heritage Day History". heritageday.org. date unknown. http://www.heritageday.org/. Retrieved 7 July 2009.   → "Easton Heritage Day"(Easton Flag). date unknown. Retrieved on 7 July 2009.

See also

External links

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