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Allentown

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ALLENTOWN, Pa., city and county-seat of Lehigh County, on the Lehigh Valley, Cen tral of New Jersey. Philadelphia and Reading and the Perkiomen railways and the Lehigh Canal, 92 miles west of New York city, 55 miles north of Philadelphia and 98 miles east of Harrisburg. The commercial and industrial metropolis of the Lehigh Valley, covering an area of six square miles, Allentown is well built on a plateau sloping toward the con fluence of the Lehigh, Little Lehigh and Jordan rivers, and is the centre of three great trolley systems, touching every important city, town and village within a radius of 36 miles, and extending in a. two-hour connection to Phila delphia. The power plants, car barns and machine shops of one transit company alone represent an investment of over $1,350,000. Nearly 600 diversified industries find a home in Allentown, including iron, silk, furniture, shoes, cigars, hosiery, dyeing, automobile, wire, cement blocks, brick, clothing, lumber, automo bile fire engines, etc. According to the special census of manufactures for the year 1914, there were 297 establishments of factory grade, employing 15,072 persons, of whom 13,685 were wage earners, receiving a total of $6,501,000 in wages. The aggregate of capital employed amounted .to $26,716,000, and the value of the output was $33,918,000; of this, the value added by manufacture was $13, • 213,000. These figures show an increase of 29 per cent since 1909. Besides the local indus tries, Allentown is commercially interested in the 18 cement companies with 34 mills in the Lehigh district employing 12,000 men. They average an annual output of 25,000,000 barrels or about one-third of the total product of the United States. Within a 30-minute trolley . ride is the $50,000,000 plant of the Bethlehem Steel Company, employing among its 12,000 men, from 1,000 to 1,200 skilled mechanics from Allentown. Allentown ranks second only to Paterson in the United States for the manu facture of silks. Here is held annually with a four-day attendance of 200,000, the °Great Al lentown Fair? the greatest county fair in the United States. The large court house, fine hos pital, free public library, many of the handsome churches, hotels, elegant banking institutions, spacious prison, and other public buildings, are of hewn limestone. The numerous educational buildings, 22 public schools, one open-air school, five colleges, include Muhlenberg College, a Lutheran institution founded in 1867, and the Allentown College for Women.

Allentown maintains parks, well-equipped play grounds, an abtindant pure spring water supply, pumped direct from the spring to the home with a daily flow of 12,000,000 gallons; a street main supply of steam heat; an unlimited supply of electric power for manufacturing purposes and for its brilliantly illuminated streets, mer cantile establishments, and homes; and a motorized fire department. A concrete bridge which cost $500,000 connects a rapidly growing section. By legislative enactment effective 1 Dec. 1913, the city is governed by a commission council of five members, including the mayor. The city's annual income averages $750,000.

Allentown was founded in 1762 by William Allen, Esq., Chief Justice of the Province of Pennsylvania, father-in-law of Governor John Penn, and a great friend of the Penn family from whom he derived his grants of land, and - named Allentown in honor of its founder. Here, during the Revolution, the Liberty Bell, the bells now in Christ Church, and St. Peter's, Philadelphia, were concealed by the Ameri cans; and here, in 1799, John Fries (q.v.), of °Fries Rebellion° notoriety, fomented the Ger man opposition to the °window tax.' First inhabited by 13 German families and by the influence of the neighboring towns cut off for several years from the different post routes, it remained unprogressive until, in 1811, by the division of Northampton County, it became the seat of justice of Lehigh County, and by the act of the legislature passed 18 March 1811, was incorporated as Northampton borough with a population of about 800. With its advance to the rank of a county-seat, the town improved rapidly, and its accessibility to deposits of lime stone, iron ore, anthracite coal, slate, zinc, cement, etc., added to its increasing importance in trade and wealth. An inadequate water sup ply, one of its chief drawbacks, was removed in 1828 by the organization of a municipal water-works plant. In 1838 the original name of the town was restored, and in 1867 it re ceived a special charter. Pop. (1910) 51,913; (1916) 65,000— including suburbs, 150,000. Consult Roberts, C. H., and others, of Lehigh County' (3 vols., Allentown 1914).