Easton: Discover Where Historic Charm Meets Trendy and New
A vintage box of Crayola crayons contained red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, brown, and black wax sticks. But that’s not the only colorful fact you’ll learn on a visit to Easton. At the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers, visitors come to the charming riverside town to take in the vibrant greens of heirloom veggies at Easton Farmers’ Market, root for the Lafayette College maroon and white, and debate the age-old controversy about the Easton flag: did its 13 white eight-pointed stars and red and white stripes predate the one made by Betsy Ross?
Fun Facts About Easton
- Easton is believed to be the site of the first Christmas tree in the country.
- The Easton-Phillipsburg high school football rivalry played on Thanksgiving Day, is considered one of the largest and longest-standing rivalries in American high school football. The first game occurred in 1905.
- The Bachmann Tavern, the oldest remaining building in the city, was once the residence of George Taylor, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
- The First United Church of Christ served as a hospital during the Revolutionary War and was visited by George Washington.
- The FREDDY Awards, an award show recognizing outstanding achievement in high school theatre held annually at the State Theatre, was the subject of a 2010 documentary called Most Valuable Players.
- The famed heavyweight boxer, Larry Holmes is a resident of Easton.
Founded by Thomas Penn in 1752, Easton – Lehigh Valley’s smallest city – is located on the eastern edge of Lehigh Valley at the convergence of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers along the New Jersey state border.
In 1765, Northampton County’s first courthouse was built in what is now known as Centre Square. It is here that one of the three original readings of the Declaration of Independence was conducted on July 8, 1776; to this day, re-enactors celebrate this event on Heritage Day.
Centre Square is also home to the oldest, continuous open-air farmers markets in the country, Easton Farmers’ Market, which upholds its tradition Saturday mornings May - November. The success of the farmer’s market lead to the opening of the Easton Public Market in 2016. This indoor market was modeled after the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia and offers high-quality food offerings to both residents and visitors.
When the Lehigh Canal was completed in 1829, Easton became a center for industry, manufacturing, commerce, and culture. The city served as a major commercial center during the canal and railroad periods of the 19th century, transporting for the steel industry. Easton’s history has been well-preserved over the years; many historical buildings still stand today and are still functioning as tour sites.
Downtown Easton is home to shops, trendy restaurants, art galleries, and antique stores. Families enjoy the Crayola Experience™, and stars of stage and screen perform throughout the year at the State Theatre Center for the Arts. Some visitors enjoy the ride of a 48-ton canal boat by working mules, Hank and George, and authentically-dressed guides on the Lehigh Canal in Hugh Moore Park.
The College Hill neighborhood is named for Lafayette College, also in Easton. Here you’ll find the Williams Center for the Arts for another venue to take in a performance. At the base of the college, you can also explore the Karl Stirner Arts Trail which winds 2.5 miles along the Bushkill Creek.
Easton’s Centre Square is also the location of three very popular festivals – Heritage Day in July, Garlic Fest in October, and PA BaconFest in November.