Allentown, Pennsylvania has a rich history that dates back to the colonial period. Many historical events have taken place in and around this area, shaping the city's past and present. These events have contributed to the development of Allentown as a culturally significant city. Here are seven important historical events that took place in or near Allentown.
1. The Revolutionary War Battles of Brandywine and Germantown (1777)
The Revolutionary War battles of Brandywine and Germantown occurred during the fall of 1777. The Continental Army led by George Washington faced the British Army of General William Howe. The battles were both strategic and significant, as they marked the beginning of the end of the Revolutionary War. Although they occurred about 60 miles outside of Allentown, they played a significant role in the city's future.
2. The Liberty Bell's tour through Allentown (1777)
Shortly after the battles of Brandywine and Germantown, the Liberty Bell was transported through Allentown as part of a program to rally the patriots. The event took place in September 1777 and helped to galvanize the local community's support for the Revolutionary War.
3. The establishment of Allentown as a city (1867)
After the civil war, Allentown was established as a city in 1867, following the merging of several smaller boroughs. The city's growth was further encouraged by the establishment of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, which helped to connect Allentown to major cities like New York and Philadelphia.
4. The Great Allentown Fire (1871)
In 1871, the city was struck by a devastating fire that destroyed much of the downtown area. The blaze began in a small furniture store and quickly spread, fueled by strong winds. In the end, over 30 blocks were destroyed, and hundreds of families were left homeless.
5. The discovery of anthracite coal (1791)
Coal mining is a significant part of Allentown's history, with the discovery of anthracite coal in 1791 leading to significant industrial development. The coal reserves near Allentown were found to be of high quality, making them ideal for energy production.
6. The establishment of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation (1904)
The Bethlehem Steel Corporation was one of the leading steel producers in the United States, and it played a major role in the economic development of Allentown. The company's massive steel mills provided employment for thousands of people in the area, and many of these workers lived in Allentown.
7. The opening of Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom (1884)
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom is an amusement park located in the city's suburbs. The park was first opened in 1884 and has become a popular destination for families and thrill-seekers alike. The park's iconic wooden roller coaster, the Thunderhawk, has been a fixture of the Lehigh Valley for over a century.
In conclusion, Allentown, PA, has a rich and diverse history that has shaped the city's character and identity. From pivotal events in the Revolutionary War to the establishment of major industries, Allentown has been a significant player in Pennsylvania's history. These seven historical events are just a small sample of the city's fascinating past, and they continue to inspire the local community to preserve and honor their shared heritage.
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