Famous Lehigh Valley Landmarks
In our travels, we came across a gallery of pictures posted by The Morning Call of old places in the Lehigh Valley that no longer exist. What a trip down memory lane! It was nostalgic to look through all the images and see what once was and realize what is now standing in it’s place. It got us thinking about what is gone and what historic Lehigh Valley landmarks still exist today- some just minutes away! Read on for our three favorites:
- Ritz’s Barbecue – The Allentown Fairgrounds has been a destination for years, since 1889 to be exact. Not only does it host the Allentown Farmer’s Market, the annual Great Allentown Fair and numerous expo’s in the Agri-Plex but it’s home to the one of the oldest restaurants in the area, Ritz Barbecue. The place to go for traditional Pennsylvania Dutch comfort food, Ritz has been in business since 1926 and is still going strong today. It maintains that casual, drive-in style complete with a take-out window. Not only can you count on the delicious food, but also their famous ice cream. Although a fire ruined their original ice cream maker, they now get their ice cream from four local dairies making Ritz an authentic Allentown destination!
- Bethlehem Steel – Thanks to Billy Joel, everyone know that the steel industry in Allentown and Bethlehem were once booming and had an enormously positive impact on the regions economy. However, once the industry moved overseas, entire operations such as Bethlehem Steel were left abandoned and slowly decayed. Thankfully, Bethlehem Steel has since been revived into a vibrant and spectacular entertainment district. Between The Sands Casino, Levitt Pavilion and ArtsQuest, there is always a crowd on the historic campus with the crown jewel being the Steelstacks as the tremendous, glowing backdrop to it all. We’re glad to see how far the desolate property has come, with plenty more in the works!
- Allentown Art Museum – While it’s not the Met, many people do not realize the kind of significance the museum actually has. First of all, it was founded by Walter Emerson Baum, a famed (and local) impressionist painter. The museum and it’s art collection saw major growth within it’s first 40 years at which point it moved to it’s current downtown location. Originally, the First Presbyterian Church, Edgar Tafel designed the building’s expansion which included a permanent exhibit; a room from the Francis W. Little house, designed by Tafel’s mentor, famed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Incidentally, another room from the famous home is on exhibit in the Met! So while the Allentown Art Museum is nowhere near as large as the Met, it is home to some really incredible local history as well as work from famous artists!
These are only three of many places with deep Lehigh Valley roots and we can only hope that they’re going last long after we’re gone so generations to come can connect with them like we do!