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Lehigh Valley Facts & Trivia

 

The History.

  • From 1777 to 1778 The Liberty Bell was hidden from the British in the basement of Zion’s Reformed Church of Christ in Allentown so the Army would not melt it down for munitions.
  • Historic Bethlehem has more original 18th century buildings than Colonial Williamsburg.
  • Moravians in Bethlehem completed the first-known waterworks system in the American Colonies in 1754 which provided drinking and wash water.
  • The Moravian Book Shop, located in Historic Bethlehem, is the oldest continuously operating book shop in the world, founded in 1745.
  • On July 8, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read aloud in Easton's Centre Square. The only other towns that had public readings of the famed document were Trenton, NJ and Philadelphia.
  • The electric Star of Bethlehem, which sits atop South Mountain, was erected in the 1930s and is 81 ft. high with 246 light bulbs.
  • The Saylor Cement Company in Coplay is believed to be the first company in the United States to produce Portland cement in 1871.
  • The National Canal Museum in Easton is the only museum in the country dedicated to telling the story of America’s historic towpath canals.

 

The Arts. The Culture.

  • Bethlehem's 10-day Musikfest® is considered one of the largest, free, outdoor music festivals in the country, with over 500 musical performers and an annual attendance of over one million.
  • Lehigh Valley is home to 11 colleges and universities.
  • Crayola Inc. produces nearly three billion crayons each year, an average of 12 million daily. That's enough to circle the globe six times.
  • Located in Orefield, Shankweiler's is the oldest drive-in movie theatre in America and has been in continuous operation since 1934.
  • Established in 1833, C. F. Martin & Co. in Nazareth is America’s largest and the world’s oldest maker of fine acoustic guitars, celebrating its 175th anniversary in 2008.
  • The Bach Choir of Bethlehem is the country’s oldest Bach choir, founded in 1898. It also gave the first complete performance in the United States of The Mass in B Minor and The Christmas Oratorio.
  • The historic State Theatre in downtown Easton is home to Fred the ghost, a man who managed the theatre from 1936 - 1965 and lived there for a short period when his home was flooded. More than 10 sightings have been reported since Fred's spirit was first identified in the 1970s.

 

The Recreation.

  • Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom's Steel Force is so tall that it could easily fit the Statue of Liberty under its peak.
  • Affectionately called the “concrete crater,” the Valley Preferred Cycling Center velodrome in Trexlertown was built in 1974 by the late Bob Rodale, owner of Rodale Press. It has hosted Olympic cycling trials, World Cup races, Junior World Championships, national championships, and countless major international competitions.
  • Dutch Springs is the largest freshwater scuba diving facility in the country.
  • The Lehigh River, which connects Lehigh Valley's three main cities, spans 120 miles and is crossed by 16 bridges in the region.
  • The Lehigh Valley Wine Trail was designated as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 2008. There are currently nine wineries and 13 vineyards in this designation with more than 220 acres devoted to viticulture.
  • Allentown has more acres of parkland per capita than any other American city its size.
  • For over 150 years, The Great Allentown Fair has honored its agricultural mission by featuring livestock shows and competitions in addition to thrill rides, carnival games, and food vendors. Its grandstand was originally built as a race track but today is also used for outdoor concerts.
  • The Lehigh University - Lafayette College football rivalry dates back to 1884 when the two teams first played each other. Played over 150 times, it is the most played football rivalry in the nation. It is also the longest uninterrupted rivalry, since the teams have met every year since 1897.