Borough of Nazareth in Lehigh Valley
Video released on: October 15, 2008
Tracey Werner: Welcome to this episode of Lehigh Valley Visions. Today we’re taking in the sights and sounds of the historic Burrow of Nazareth located between Bethlehem and Easton. It’s arguably best known for this place, the C.F. Martin Guitar Company. The folks at Martin were nice enough to lend me this guitar to play during the opening segment. The truth is I don’t know how to play it. I’ve asked my friend Dave here to do it for us. Dave?
The name Martin Guitar has been synonymous with world famous, hand crafted, acoustic guitars for more than 175 years. The factory in Nazareth offers free, guided tours on week days. They bring you up close to the talented crafts people that sculpt wood into a musical instrument. After the tour, the Martin Company will tell you everything you want to know about the company’s history, the models it has made and the famous musicians that play them. Before you head out, stop in the Pickin’ Parlor and try out a few of their instruments yourself.
I love the sound of that guitar. Thanks so much Dave. When it comes to the founding of Nazareth, look no further than the Whitfield House and the log cabin structure next door. The Reverend George Whitfield was a land owner who in 1740, hired Moravian settlers to help him build a school, but do to weather delays the school wasn’t going to be done in time for the winter. So, they built this structure, a log cabin instead, known today as Grey Cottage. Over the years, Grey Cottage has been both a school and a residence and it remained a private residence today.
Whitfield House was eventually finished in 1743 and has since been everything from a Moravian school for girls to apartments, before finally becoming a museum run by the Moravian Historical Society. Its collection includes the oldest American-made violin in existence and this, the 1776 David Tannerberg organ. It’s the only one of its kind in original playing condition. It takes two people to play this organ, one to manipulate the key board and one to pump air into it. Sue, want to give this a try?
Tracey Werner: I think the sound of this organ gives that Martin Guitar a run for its money. It’s really nice, thanks so much. At the sight of the Moravians first cemetery, known as God’s acre, stands the Indian Tower. It sits at the highest point the Borough and originally was a summer pavilion, which was later torn down and rebuilt in 1916 as the structure you see today. While many mistakenly think that it was constructed by settlers as a lookout for hostile Indians, it actually takes its name from the Indians buried in the cemetery that it over looks.
A marble marker, dedicated by the Moravian Historical Society in 1867 is inscribed with the names of the 67 Moravians and four Indians, which are buried here. The panoramic view of the tower is impressive or so I’m told. I’d climb up there if it wouldn’t take the fire department to get me back down. I’m afraid of heights. Another important location in the Borough is the built-in Historic Sight, home of the Henry Gun Works. William Henry founded the company in 1781 in the Borough’s downtown district. Despite the Moravians were pacifists, firearms coupled with the ax were important survival tools on the American frontier.
The company’s operations moved to this location just outside the downtown in 1798, so the company could expand its production. Dave Ehrig of the Jacobsburg Historical Society has offered to demonstrate for us how the long rifle works. Dave take it away.
Dave I think I like the sound of the guitar a lot better. The museum of the Pennsylvania long rifle is housed in the Henry family’s original homestead and tells their story through exhibits and artifacts. You can also tour the 1882 John Joseph Henry House Museum across the street where the Henry family members lived until 1989. While you’re exploring Nazareth, be sure and save time to stop at the local shops and boutiques and have a bit to eat at one of their popular restaurants or bistros.
The classic Victorian Inn is the place to stay when you’re in town. Owners Irene and Dan will pamper you in one of their five elegantly appointed rooms. Heading out of town? Then visit Amore Winery for a free wine tasting with owner Greg Amore and find a favorite wine or two to take home with you.
I’m relaxing in the town’s park-like center square with its mature trees and comfy benches. It’s a great place to sit and people watch, enjoy nature or just take in the beautiful architecture. I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of Lehigh Valley Visions and that you found a few attractions to visit in Nazareth on your trip here. Thank you so much for joining me.