The Lehigh Valley (//), known officially by the United States Census Bureau and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget as the Allentown–Bethlehem–Easton, PA-NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area and referred to colloquially as The Valley, is a metropolitan region that officially includes Carbon, Lehigh, and Northampton counties in eastern Pennsylvania and Warren County in northwestern New Jersey. The Lehigh Valley's largest city is Allentown with a population of 125,845 residents as of the 2020 census.
PA–NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area
Metropolitan Statistical Area
|Elevation||2,180 ft (660 m)|
(2020 U.S. Census)
|Time zone||UTC−5 (ET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Area code(s)||570, 610 & 484, 908|
The Lehigh Valley is currently Pennsylvania's third most populous metropolitan area following those of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and the nation's 68th largest metropolitan area with a population of 861,889 residents as of 2020. Lehigh County, the most populated of the Valley's four counties, is among Pennsylvania's fastest-growing counties, and the Lehigh Valley leads Pennsylvania in terms of population growth in the 18-to-34 year old demographic. The region's core population centers are located in southern and central Lehigh and Northampton counties along U.S. Route 22, Pennsylvania Route 309, Interstate 476, and Interstate 78.
The Lehigh Valley's total gross domestic product was $43.8 billion as of 2017, driven by fairly balanced industry sector contributions from manufacturing, health care, finance, and professional services. The Valley is one of Pennsylvania's largest and fastest growing economies, experiencing a 5% growth in GDP between 2016 and 2017 alone. Median household income for the region increased from $57,288 to $62,507 between 2015 and 2019.
The Lehigh Valley has played a sizable and influential role in the country's founding and history. On June 21, 1774, patriots in the region were among the first to organize to oppose British colonial governance, demanding formation of the First Continental Congress and establishing one of the colonies' first patriot militias to drive Loyalists from the area and resist British governance. The Lehigh Valley helped inspire and then supported the Revolutionary War effort, establishing one of the first hospitals for the treatment of wounded and injured Continental Army troops at an Allentown location now occupied by the Farr Building. George Washington and his commanders established two POW camps in Allentown, one at 8th and Hamilton Streets and another on Gordon Street, to house Hessian mercenaries captured at the Battle of Trenton, and Washington visited the region following the Battle of Trenton and several other times during and following the Revolutionary War. Allentown also played a historical role in protecting the Liberty Bell from British capture following the September 26, 1777 fall of Philadelphia to the British Army, concealing it for nine months from September 1777 to June 1778 under floor boards inside Allentown's Zion Reformed Church, an act later commemorated in 1962 with the establishment of the Liberty Bell Museum inside this Allentown church.
Significant numbers of Lehigh Valley volunteers contributed to the Union's preservation during the American Civil War. In the war's first days, following the April 13, 1861 fall of Fort Sumpter, the Allen Infantry, a militia comprised of volunteers from Allentown and its surrounding communities, responded to Lincoln's April 15, 1861 proclamation by deploying to defend the national capital of Washington, D.C. Several months later, in August 1861, the Allen Infantry and other large numbers of Allentown-area volunteers formed Pennsylvania's 47th Regiment, which contributed to the Union Army's victory in the Battle of St. Johns Bluff and led daring raids against Confederate positions in the Deep South, including in the 1864 Red River campaign in the Trans-Mississippi theater.
Beginning in the 18th century and continuing until the late 20th century, the Lehigh Valley's leadership in the mining of coal and iron and later in its manufacturing of steel in the 20th century proved central to the nation's industrialisation, ultimately contributing to the American Industrial Revolution and the nation's rise as a global manufacturing power. The Lehigh Canal, whose construction began in 1818, was groundbreaking, permitting the region to transport its mined coal and iron and ultimately steel components and products through the Lehigh River to the nation's largest markets in New York City, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and elsewhere. Many Lehigh Valley companies contributed to the region's development as a global industrial leader, including Bethlehem Steel, which grew to become the nation's second largest steel manufacturer. Founded in Bethlehem in 1899, the company's steel was an essential component for many of the nation's earliest and largest infrastructure and building projects, including the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, and Rockefeller Center in New York City, Merchandise Mart in Chicago, the George Washington, Verrazzano, and Golden Gate Bridges, and the construction of warships and other military hardware that proved essential in American-led victories in both World Wars.
The Lehigh Valley is located at the center of the U.S. Northeast megalopolis, the nation's most populated region with over 50 million residents, with ease of access and close proximity to the nation's largest population centers, airports, terminals, railways, and seaports, including New York City, which is 65 miles (105 km) to its east, and Philadelphia, which is 50 miles (80 km) to its southeast. The Lehigh Valley is located geographically within a one-day drive to more than a third of the total U.S. population and over half of Canada's population, which has proven influential in its 21st emergence as a national leader in warehousing, logistics, manufacturing, and distribution that has helped offset losses experienced from the region's decline in heavy manufacturing that began in the early 1980s. By air, the region is serviced by Lehigh Valley International Airport, whose air traffic has grown significantly in the 21st century, fueled mostly by increases in air cargo traffic, which exceeded over 210 million pounds in 2016.
Within the Lehigh Valley, Lehigh and Northampton Counties are part of Philadelphia's designated media market, Warren County is part of New York City's media market, and Carbon County belongs to the Wilkes-Barre–Scranton–Hazleton media market.
The Lehigh Valley was settled in the first half of the 1700s by predominantly German immigrants fleeing war and religious oppression. Prior to their arrival, the Lehigh Valley was inhabited by Lenape Indian tribes who hunted, fished, and quarried jasper in the region. Sons of provincial Pennsylvania founder William Penn acquired much of the Lehigh Valley in the Walking Purchase in 1737 during the colonial period. Lenape Indians subsequently retaliated with raids against European settlers throughout the 1750s and early 1760s but were moved out of the region by the mid-1760s. The region was initially established in 1682 as part of Bucks County. In 1752, the region became part of Northampton County, and Lehigh County was established from it in 1812. Shelter House in Emmaus, which was constructed in 1734 by Pennsylvania German settlers, is believed to be the oldest still-standing building structure in the Lehigh Valley and one of the oldest in the state.
American Revolutionary WarEdit
Some of the first resistance to British colonialism, which escalated ultimately to the American Revolutionary War, began in present day Lehigh County in the Lehigh Valley. On December 21, 1774, a Committee of Observation was formed by local American patriot militias. With the Declaration of Independence, the Colonial British government in Allentown began to break down and patriot militias ceased control, pressuring Tories out of the Allentown area and establishing a patriot militia that opposed British colonialism. General George Washington and his Continental Army staff passed through Allentown following the Continental Army's victory at the Battle of Trenton, traveling up Lehigh Street, which was then called Water Street. Washington and his staff stopped at the foot of the street at a large spring on what is now the property occupied by the Wire Mill, where they rested and watered their horses and then went their way to their post of duty.
After Washington and the Continental Army's defeat at the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, the revolutionary capital of Philadelphia was left defenseless and Pennsylvania's Supreme Executive Council ordered that eleven Philadelphia bells, including the Liberty Bell (then known as the State House Bell), be taken down and moved to present day Allentown (then Northampton Town) and hidden under floor boards at Zion Reformed Church on present day West Hamilton Street to protect them from being seized and melted down by the British Army for use as munitions. The Liberty Bell Museum, located inside Zion Reformed Church in Allentown, commemorates the successful concealment of the Liberty Bell in Allentown during the American Revolution.
American Civil WarEdit
Following the Union Army's defeat at the Battle of Fort Sumter in the American Civil War and Lincoln's April 15, 1861 proclamation calling for state militia to provide 75,000 volunteer troops to defend the nation's capital of Washington, D.C., Allentown sent the Allen Infantry, which defended Washington, D.C. from what was feared would be a Confederate attack on the nation's capital following Fort Sumter's fall. Also known as the Allen Guards, the unit mustered in for duty on April 18, 1861. As the Civil War progressed, members of this unit and other Lehigh Valley volunteers formed and assimilated into the 47th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, which proved influential in expanding the Union Army's reach into the Deep South, attacking Confederate positions at the Battle of St. Johns Bluff in 1862 and throughout the Red River campaign in the Trans-Mississippi theater in 1864 and tipping the Civil War in the Union's favor. On October 19, 1899, a monument in honor of the Lehigh Valley men killed in their volunteer service to the Union Army, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, was erected at Seventh and Hamilton Streets in Center City Allentown, where it still stands.
The opening of the Lehigh Canal in 1827 transformed Allentown and the Lehigh Valley from a rural agricultural area dominated by German-speaking people into an urbanized industrialized area and expanded Allentown's commercial and industrial capacity greatly. With this, the Lehigh Valley underwent significant industrialization, ultimately becoming a major center of the American Industrial Revolution.
The Lehigh Valley is named for the Lehigh River, which runs through it, and owes much of its development and history to anthracite coal, timber, and ore that the Lehigh Canal and railroad infrastructure in the Lehigh Valley made possible. The Lehigh Canal operated into the Great Depression, feeding ports up and down the Delaware River, the Pennsylvania Canal, and transoceanic demand, and was integral to the industrialization of the greater Delaware Valley region. The Morris Canal, the 22–23 miles (35–37 km) anthracite coal feeder of the Delaware and Raritan Canal. and locks at New Hope on the Delaware Canal were built to fuel the anthracite needs of Trenton, Newark, Jersey City, and New York City. This ability to mine and then transport coal, timber, and fuel from the Lehigh Valley was instrumental to the nation's industrialization, which increased even more substantially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as Bethlehem Steel and other Lehigh Valley-based heavy manufacturers began transforming the region into a hub to meet growing demand for heavy manufacturing goods.
Cities and locationEdit
The Lehigh Valley's three principal cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton are the population centers of the Allentown–Bethlehem–Easton metropolitan area. The traditional bounds of the region are The Poconos to the north, Warren County, New Jersey to the east, the boundaries of Berks County and Montgomery County to the southwest, and the boundary with Bucks County to the south.
The Lehigh Valley is located between two of the nation's largest population centers, 65 miles (105 km) west of New York City, the nation's largest city, and 50 miles (80 km) north of Philadelphia, the nation's sixth largest city. The Lehigh Valley's population is 861,889 as of the 2020 U.S. Census, making it the nation's 68th largest metropolitan region. Recent census studies show the Lehigh Valley to be the fastest-growing region in Pennsylvania, due in part to its growing popularity as a bedroom community for the highly populated neighboring regions of Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City and a comparatively favorable business climate and cost of living.
The Valley is geologically and geographically part of the Great Appalachian Valley, a region largely made up of limestone that stretches along the eastern edge of the Appalachian Mountains. The Lehigh Valley is so named because it is located geographically within an actual valley formed by the Lehigh River that lies between two mountain ridges, Blue Mountain to the north and South Mountain to the south.
Municipalities with more than 10,000 peopleEdit
Municipalities with fewer than 10,000 but more than 5,000 peopleEdit
Municipalities with fewer than 5,000 peopleEdit
Census-designated places and villagesEdit
Metropolitan and Combined Statistical AreasEdit
The United States Office of Management and Budget has designated the Lehigh Valley area as the Allentown–Bethlehem–Easton PA-NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2020 Census, it is the 68th largest metropolitan area in the nation. The region consists of four counties:
The Lehigh Valley has four distinct seasons, which typically include humid summers, cold winters, and very short and mild springs and falls. It has a humid continental climate (Dfa/Dfb) and the hardiness zone ranges from 5b in the highlands of northern Carbon County to 6b (the principal zone in Lehigh, Northampton, and southern Warren Counties).
|Record high °F (°C)||72
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||60
|Average high °F (°C)||38.4
|Daily mean °F (°C)||30.1
|Average low °F (°C)||21.8
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||4
|Record low °F (°C)||−15
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.30
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||9.8
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||11.4||10.1||10.9||11.8||12.4||11.4||11.0||10.2||9.6||9.9||8.9||11.5||129.1|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||5.1||4.3||2.6||0.3||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.5||2.9||15.7|
|Average relative humidity (%)||70||66||62||61||66||68||70||72||74||72||70||71||69|
|Percent possible sunshine||43||48||53||47||54||63||57||56||54||53||45||42||51|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity 1981–2010)|
The Lehigh Valley has a total population of 861,889 residents as of the 2020 U.S. Census, making it the third largest metropolitan area in Pennsylvania and 68th largest metropolitan area in the nation.
According to the 2018 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, 87.1% of the population was White American, 4.6% were Black or African American, 0.1% were American Indian, 2.3% were Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Americans made up 0.1%, 4.3% were of some other race, and 1.5% belonged to two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 11.3% of the population and represent the Lehigh Valley's fastest-growing demographic. Lehigh County is in the top 1% of all U.S. counties for inward migration from international locations, according to a Select USA, a U.S. Commerce Department program. The Lehigh Valley as a whole leads the state of Pennsylvania in terms of population growth in the 18-to-34 year old demographic, according to 2020 Census data.
The Lehigh Valley is seeing an influx of residents from New Jersey and New York seeking to take advantage of the greatly reduced cost of living, employment opportunities, and close proximity to two of the largest cities in the country, Philadelphia and New York City. The Valley's population is expected to increase by 227,000 people by 2040, making it one of the fastest-growing areas in the state and country.
|County||2021 Estimate||2020 Census||Change||Area||Density|
|Lehigh County||375,539||374,557||+0.26%||345 sq mi (890 km2)||1,089/sq mi (420/km2)|
|Northampton County||313,628||312,951||+0.22%||370 sq mi (960 km2)||848/sq mi (327/km2)|
|Warren County||110,731||109,632||+1.00%||356.92 sq mi (924.4 km2)||310/sq mi (120/km2)|
|Carbon County||65,412||64,749||+1.02%||381 sq mi (990 km2)||172/sq mi (66/km2)|
|Total MSA Population||865,310||861,889||+0.40%||1,452.92 sq mi (3,763.0 km2)||596/sq mi (230/km2)|
The median household income in the Lehigh Valley was $62,507 in 2019, and has been steadily increasing in recent years as the area continues to grow and attract new businesses to the region.
The Lehigh Valley's economy has been historically known globally for its leadership throughout the 19th and 20th centuries in heavy manufacturing. Beginning in the 1980s, however, the region's manufacturing sector declined rapidly as a result of foreign competition, trade practices, operational costs, regulations, and other factors. The most prominent example was the plight of Bethlehem Steel, once the nation's second largest manufacturer of steel. Headquartered in Bethlehem, Bethlehem Steel suspended most of its operations in the early 1980s and ultimately declared bankruptcy in 2001 and was dissolved in 2003.
Since the late 20th century, the Lehigh Valley has begun to recover from the loss of its once powerful manufacturing base and has seen other industry sectors emerge in the region. As of 2019, the top five industries in the Lehigh Valley were: 1.) finance, 2.) manufacturing, 3.) education, 4.) professional services, and 5.) health care. Other major industry sectors in the area include retail, transportation and warehousing, arts and entertainment, and information services. As of 2017, the top five largest industry sectors were each fairly equally balanced in their contribution to the Lehigh Valley's total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $43.8 billion.
The Lehigh Valley is known historically for its production of steel, Portland cement, and apparel. It emerged as a major U.S. center of industrial manufacturing in the 1800s and maintained this role until the late 20th century when various factors, including the practices of foreign competitors, led to downsizing and bankruptcies in Lehigh Valley's heavy manufacturing sector.
Bethlehem Steel, founded in 1899 and based in Bethlehem, was a foundation of the Lehigh Valley's economy for the late 19th and most of the 20th century. At its height, it was the second largest manufacturer of steel in the U.S. and one of the largest steel manufacturers in the world. Bethlehem Steel was influential in contributing to many of the nation's most prominent 20th century infrastructure projects with its steel used in constructing of 28 Liberty Street, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, Rockefeller Center, and the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City and Merchandise Mart in Chicago. Among major bridges, Bethlehem Steel was used in constructing the George Washington Bridge and Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in New York City, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and the Peace Bridge between Buffalo and Fort Erie, Ontario. The Roosevelt administration leaned heavily on Bethlehem Steel as World War II was fought, utilizing it for shipbuilding and ammunition and other military manufacturing that proved influential in the Allies ability to ultimately prevail.
In the late 20th century, however, a variety of factors, including the practices of foreign competitors, began eroding Bethlehem Steel's once historical global leadership in steelmaking. In 1982, the company announced it was discontinuing most of its operations. In 2001, the company declared bankruptcy. In 2003, it was dissolved.
Throughout the late 20th century, other heavy manufacturing companies in the Lehigh Valley that once served as backbones for the region's economy suffered similarly, either downsizing significantly or dissolving, which destabilized the region considerably.
In the early 2000s, seeking to replace the heavy manufacturing companies that had been the region's foundation for decades, the Lehigh Valley began developing other economic sectors, including financial services, health care, life sciences, and technology. The Lehigh Valley also began emerging as a national warehouse and distribution hub given its proximity to many of the largest U.S. markets and relatively lower operating costs compared to other regions.
More recently, a movement to reestablish manufacturing activities in the U.S., driven by customer demand for American-made products, faster product delivery, increased overseas wages, and inflated costs and extended timeframes for shipping has led to a increases in the local manufacturing base. Several large companies from China and Germany have each invested tens of millions of dollars into establishing significant operations in the Lehigh Valley, which has generated thousands of new local jobs.
As of 2019, the Lehigh Valley's top five employers are: 1.) Lehigh Valley Health Network, 2.) St. Luke's Hospital and Health Network, 3.) Amazon, 4.) Lehigh Valley Physician Group, and 5.) Mack Trucks.
Business and economic environmentEdit
The Lehigh Valley is one of the fastest-growing and largest economies in Pennsylvania with a total GDP of $43.8 billion that saw a five percent increase between 2016 and 2017 alone driven by strong manufacturing, financial, health care, and professional services industry segments. It is centrally located in the Northeast Megalopolis with ease of access and close proximity to several of the largest markets, population centers, airports, terminals, railways and seaports in the United States including both the New York City and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. The Lehigh Valley is also situated within a one-day drive to more than one third of the total population of the United States and more than one half of the total population of Canada. The area has a lower cost of living, more affordable real estate, lower taxes, better access to institutions of higher education, and a larger and more affordable labor pool, however, than many other Northeastern US regions. These attributes and others, such as sizable investments in business development incentive programs and a friendlier regulatory environment, provide the area with an attractive business climate in comparison to surrounding areas.
Due in large part to the aforementioned comparably favorable business climate and mature business support programs, such as the state's Ben Franklin Technology Partners business incubator and investment fund, the Lehigh Valley has been very successful in luring established businesses as well as new startup companies from higher cost areas such as New York and New Jersey, bringing with them thousands of new jobs and significant new investments to the region. Large companies such as Amazon.com have also praised the region for its commitment to business support, infrastructure investment, and incentive programs, citing them as major reasons for their continuing expansions and increased hiring in the region and Allegiant Air, a low-cost budget airline, opened a new flight base at the Lehigh Valley International Airport in February 2020, noting the area's rapid growth, lower costs of doing business, and proximity to popular destinations as significant factors in its decision to do so.
Other large national and international companies either based in the Lehigh Valley or with significant operations there include Broadcom Corporation (in Allentown), Avantor Performance Materials (in Allentown), Air Products (in Trexlertown), Crayola LLC (in Easton), Buckeye Partners (in Emmaus), Heidelberg Cement (in Fogelsville), Just Born (in Bethlehem, maker of the popular Peeps candies), Lutron Electronics (in Coopersburg), Mack Trucks (in Allentown), Martin Guitar (in Nazareth), Olympus Corporation USA (in Center Valley), OraSure Technologies (in Bethlehem), PPL Corporation (in Allentown), Wind Creek Bethlehem (in Bethlehem), Dun & Bradstreet (in Center Valley), Synchronoss Technologies (in Bethlehem), Victaulic (in Easton), and others.
Further reaffirming the area's advantageous business and economic environment, the Lehigh Valley was recognized by business publication Site Selection Magazine in 2014, 2017, 2018, and again in 2019 as being the second-best performing region of its size for economic development in the United States and the best performing region in the entire northeast. It was also ranked by Fortune in May 2015 as one of the top 10 best places in the U.S. to locate corporate finance and information technology operations for companies, such as call centers and IT support. Allentown, the region's largest city, was cited as a "national success story" in April 2016 by the Urban Land Institute for its downtown redevelopment and transformation that has resulted in $1 billion worth of new development projects there between 2015 and 2019 alone, one of only six communities nationwide to have achieved this distinction.
The Lehigh Valley is also one of the largest areas on the East Coast for the location of warehouses and distribution centers. Because of this, it is sometimes referred to as the nation's "second Inland Empire" for freight. Large national companies that own and operate warehouses and distribution centers in the Lehigh Valley include Amazon.com, B. Braun, Boston Beer Company (brewer of Samuel Adams brand beer), BMW, Bridgestone, FedEx SmartPost, FedEx Ground, Home Depot, J. C. Penney, Nestlé Purina, ShopRite, Stitch Fix, The Coca-Cola Company, Ocean Spray, Phillips Pet Food and Supplies, True Value, Uline, Zulily, and many others. Most of these warehouses and distribution centers are located along the U.S. Route 22, Interstate 78 and Interstate 476 corridors in the region which provide direct access to numerous major markets throughout the northeast and beyond.
Due to this direct access and proximity to major markets, FedEx Ground constructed their largest distribution hub in the country in the Lehigh Valley near Lehigh Valley International Airport. This new hub can process up to 45,000 packages per hour and currently employs over 2,000 people. By 2030, it is expected to have a total size of 1,100,000 square feet (100,000 m2) square feet and employ over 3,000 people in total. It opened in September 2018 at a cost of $335 million to build. Furthermore, Amazon.com leverages the Lehigh Valley International Airport (LVIA) as one of only 11 locations in the country for their Amazon Air shipping service. LVIA was one of the first airports selected for the pilot concept of the Amazon Air program due to its close proximity to large population centers, cost-effectiveness, robust infrastructure, and comparative ease of use and access. This location now ships more merchandise, has more flights, and serves more people (over 75 million as of late 2016) for Amazon than any other facility in the country. Amazon and numerous other large companies continue to invest heavily in the region to better support the ever-increasing demand for efficient cargo transportation, driven in large part by the explosive growth of e-commerce and customer requirements for faster and more cost effective delivery of merchandise.
The Boston Beer Company operates its largest production brewery facility in the country in the Lehigh Valley (in Breinigsville), which produces more than 2/3rds of all Samuel Adams beer in the world. The company continues to upgrade and expand operations at this facility and has cited the location as central to the company's success. Additionally, Ocean Spray, a popular maker of juice drinks and other fruit products, produces 40 percent of its total national beverage volume at its Lehigh Valley plant in Breinigsville. Due to Pennsylvania's lack of an excise tax on cigars and the Lehigh Valley's close proximity to major markets, the region is also home to some of the United States' largest cigar distributors and retailers.
The Lehigh Valley is home to many retail establishments. The largest retail area of the Lehigh Valley is the Pennsylvania Route 145/MacArthur Road Corridor, just north of Allentown. It is anchored by the Lehigh Valley Mall and the Whitehall Mall.
Other malls in the region include Palmer Park Mall (in Easton), South Mall (in South Whitehall Township), and the Westgate Mall (in Bethlehem). In October 2006, a new Valley-based shopping mall, The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, was opened. Located off Route 309 in Upper Saucon Township, The Promenade is roughly half the size of the Lehigh Valley Mall, but features more upscale stores. In 2011, The Outlets at Sands Bethlehem (now The Outlets at Wind Creek Bethlehem) opened at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, becoming the first outlet mall in the Lehigh Valley.
Yocco's Hot Dogs, the regionally-famous fast food establishment founded in 1922 and known for their hot dogs and cheesesteaks, maintains four Lehigh Valley locations, including two in Allentown and one in Fogelsville and one in Trexlertown.
Awards and recognitionEdit
In 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, and again in 2020, the Lehigh Valley was recognized by Site Selection Magazine as the one of the top five best-performing regions of its size (up to 1,000,000 residents) for economic development in the country and the best-performing region in the entire Northeastern United States. It was also ranked by Fortune in May 2015 as being among the top 10 best places in the U.S. to locate corporate finance and information technology operations, such as call centers and IT support. Allentown, the Lehigh Valley's largest city, was cited as a "national success story" in April 2016 by the Urban Land Institute for its downtown redevelopment and transformation that has resulted in $1 billion worth of new development projects there between 2015 and 2018, one of only six communities nationwide of any size to have achieved this distinction.
The Lehigh Valley is part of the Philadelphia television market, the fourth largest television market in the nation, and also receives television stations from the New York City and Scranton/Wilkes Barre television markets. It also has several Lehigh Valley-based stations, including WBPH-TV (an affiliate of FamilyNet, a Christian network licensed to Bethlehem with studios in Allentown), WFMZ-TV (an independent commercial television station atop South Mountain in Allentown), and WLVT-TV (the PBS station licensed to Allentown with studios in Bethlehem).
The Lehigh Valley is home to over 35 radio stations, including both English and Spanish-language stations and a range of formats including all-news, sports radio, talk radio, and NPR. Lehigh Valley station music formats include Top 40, hip hop, rhythmic, country, oldies, polka, soft rock, classic rock, hard rock, and several campus radio stations.
Lehigh Valley-based daily newspapers include The Morning Call (in Allentown) and The Express-Times (in Easton), both with rich traditions dating back to the mid-1800s. The Lehigh Valley has two magazines, Lehigh Valley Style (a regional lifestyle publication based in Easton), and Lehigh Valley Magazine (the region's oldest lifestyle publication based in Harrisburg).
Multiple movies have been fully or partially filmed in the Lehigh Valley, including M. Night Shyamalan's Glass in 2019, indie dark-comedy Getting Grace helmed by character actor Daniel Roebuck, Taylor A. Purdee's folk rock musical Killian & the Comeback Kids, and others.
Colleges and universitiesEdit
The Lehigh Valley is a center of post-secondary education, with several four-year colleges and universities. These include:
- Cedar Crest College (in Allentown)
- DeSales University (in Center Valley)
- Lafayette College (in Easton)
- Lehigh University (in Bethlehem)
- Moravian University (in Bethlehem)
- Muhlenberg College (in Allentown)
- Penn State Lehigh Valley (in Center Valley)
The Lehigh Valley is also home to two two-year colleges:
- Lehigh Carbon Community College (with campuses in Allentown, Carbon County and Schnecksville)
- Northampton Community College (with campuses in Bethlehem, Bethlehem Township and Monroe County)
High school educationEdit
The Lehigh Valley is the third most populous metropolitan region in Pennsylvania and served by numerous school districts, public and private high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools, including:
|Lehigh Valley IronPigs||IL||Baseball||Coca-Cola Park||2008||0|
|Lehigh Valley Phantoms||AHL||Ice hockey||PPL Center||1996||2 1997-98 and 2004-05|
|Lehigh Valley Roller Derby||WFTDA||Roller Derby||Bethlehem Municipal Ice Rink||2006||0|
|Lehigh Valley United||USL League Two||Soccer||Rocco Calvo Field||2009||1 2012 (conference)|
The Lehigh Valley is home to the nation's longest-standing collegiate football rivalry in the nation. Known simply as "The Rivalry," Lafayette College in Easton and Lehigh University in Bethlehem have played each other 157 times since 1884, making it the most-played rivalry in college football history. In addition to Lafayette College and Lehigh University, two other Lehigh Valley colleges, Moravian University in Bethlehem and Muhlenberg College in Allentown also have competitive collegiate athletic programs, including football, basketball, wrestling, and other athletic teams.
National Football LeagueEdit
From 1996 until 2012, the Lehigh Valley was the home of pre-season training camp for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, which was held each summer on the football fields of Lehigh University in Bethlehem. On August 5, 2012, Garrett Reid, the 29-year-old son of then Eagles head coach Andy Reid, was found dead in his Lehigh University dorm room during training camp from a heroin overdose. In 2013, following the Garrett Reid overdose and with the hiring of new head coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles chose to move their training camp to the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia, where it has been held since.
Parkettes National Gymnastics Training Center, which has been the training ground for numerous Olympians and U.S. national gymnastics champions, is based in Allentown. In 2003, CNN aired a documentary on Parkettes, Achieving the Perfect 10, which depicted it as a hugely demanding and competitive training program.
High school athleticsEdit
The 18 largest high schools in the Lehigh Valley and Pocono Mountain region compete athletically in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference (EPC), one of the nation's premier athletic divisions. An additional 14 Lehigh Valley high schools too small to compete in the EPC compete in the Colonial League.
The EPC has produced numerous professional and Olympic athletes, including many who have gone on to compete in Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the National Football League. The EPC's football, basketball, field hockey, and wrestling teams are often ranked among the best in the nation. In high school field hockey, Emmaus High School has won 33 consecutive EPC championships.
The Lehigh Valley's high school wrestling programs have been labeled "among the nation’s best in the sport for nearly three decades" and WIN magazine has ranked the region's wrestling programs best in the nation.
In 2008, Coca-Cola Park, an 8,100-seat Minor League baseball stadium, opened in east-side Allentown. The stadium is the home field for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball. The team previously played as the Ottawa Lynx (1993–2007). The club's move to the Lehigh Valley brought the franchise closer to Philadelphia and the Phillies' large Lehigh Valley fan base. The team's name is a reference to pig iron, which is used in steelmaking for which the Lehigh Valley area is known worldwide. Groundbreaking ceremonies for Coca-Cola Park were held September 6, 2006, and construction was completed in December 2007. The stadium's first game was on March 30, 2008, featuring the Phillies major league team playing the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
Professional ice hockeyEdit
On September 10, 2014, the PPL Center, an 8,500-seat arena in center city Allentown, was opened as the new home arena for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, and for other sporting and entertainment events. The Phantoms began play at PPL Center with their 2014–15 season. The arena is located in center city Allentown, taking up the entire block between Seventh and Eighth Streets and Hamilton Boulevard and Linden Street.
Lehigh Valley Roller Derby (LVRG) is a Women's Flat Track Derby Association league based in the Lehigh Valley and its teams compete against national and international teams. The league now hosts home games at Bethlehem Municipal Ice Rink in Bethlehem.
The Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon, which features a certified marathon, a five-person team relay, a 20-mile (32 km) training run and 5K walk is held annually in September. The 42.195-kilometre (26.219 mi) course follows the Lehigh River Canal Towpath from Allentown to Easton. The marathon came under scrutiny in 2015 when Mike Rossi achieved viral fame after allegedly cheating in the marathon to qualify for the Boston Marathon. In response, Via Marathon organizers added timing mats and video surveillance on-course.
Lehigh University's Paul Short Run is held annually at the Goodman Cross Country Course and participation has climbed to over 5,000 runners spread throughout 14 college and high school races. The Emmaus 5K race is held annually in mid-October, coinciding with Emmaus' annual Halloween parade.
The Lehigh Valley is home to the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, a cycling velodrome that hosts professional and amateur cycling competitions, including Union Cycliste Internationale-sponsored competitions. Valley Preferred Cycling Center has given rise to several Olympian cycling medal winners.
The Allentown Art Museum, located in center city Allentown, is the Lehigh Valley's largest museum. The museum's collection includes more than 11,000 works of art. Lehigh University's Zoellner Arts Center and Lafayette College's smaller Williams Center for the Arts host a variety of plays, concerts and performances throughout the year. The Allentown Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Diane Wittry since 1995, performs fall through spring at Allentown's historic Miller Symphony Hall. The Banana Factory, located in South Bethlehem, has several art studios and galleries open to the public.
The Lehigh Valley is home to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, a popular amusement and water park, located in South Whitehall Township. Dorney Park is known nationally for its elaborate roller coasters and water rides.
Several large festivals are held annually in the Lehigh Valley. The Great Allentown Fair, first held in 1852, is held annually in late August through early September at the Allentown Fairgrounds in Allentown. Musikfest, a large, 10-day music festival, is held annually in Bethlehem each August. Das Awkscht Fescht, an antique car festival, is held annually the beginning of August in Macungie's Memorial Park. Blues, Brews, and Barbeque, which launched in 2014, is held annually each May in Center City Allentown. Mayfair, a three-day arts festival, is held annually the end of May on the campus of Cedar Crest College in Allentown.
Three Lehigh Valley locations exist for ice skating, ice hockey, figure skating, and speed skating. Steel Ice Center is located on East 1st Street in Bethlehem, The Rink Ice Arena is located in Lehigh County, and the City of Bethlehem maintains a covered 23,000 square foot outdoor ice rink annually from November through March. Bethlehem Skateplaza, located on Steel Avenue in Bethlehem, is a city park for skateboarding and freestyle BMX.
In 2009, Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem (now Wind Creek Bethlehem), an $879 million casino, hotel and apartment complex owned by the Las Vegas Sands, opened in Bethlehem, bringing legalized table and sports gambling to the Lehigh Valley for the first time. Wind Creek is one of only 13 authorized gaming sites in Pennsylvania.
The Lehigh Valley's primary airport is Lehigh Valley International Airport (IATA: ABE, ICAO: KABE), located in Hanover Township, three miles (5 km) northeast of Allentown. The airport was utilized by 911,970 passengers in 2019, which represents an increase of 15.01% over its use the previous year, in 2018. Much of this growth has been driven by Allegiant Air's expansion at the airport.
Amazon.com utilizes Lehigh Valley International Airport as one of only 11 locations in the country for their Prime Air shipping service. LVIA was one of the first airports selected for the pilot concept of the program due to its close proximity to large population centers, cost effectiveness, robust infrastructure, and comparative ease of use. This location now ships more merchandise, has more flights, and serves more people (over 75 million from Boston to Washington, D.C. as of late 2016) for Amazon than any other facility in the country. Both Amazon and Lehigh Valley International continue to invest heavily in the local area to better support the ever-increasing demand for air cargo driven in large part by the explosion of e-commerce and the need for faster, more efficient delivery of merchandise. LVIA has seen rapid growth in the transportation of air cargo; as of 2020, it flew more than 210 million pounds of cargo annually with an increase of nearly 166% in tonnage shipped between 2015 and 2016 alone.
Due to the same aforementioned reasons for Amazon increasing its operations at the airport, FedEx Ground selected an area near LVIA to construct its largest terminal in the country. Companies such as Amazon.com and FedEx Ground are increasingly using the airport for these purposes, which is a major factor in Lehigh Valley International's growth.
The Valley is also served by Allentown Queen City Municipal Airport, a two-runway general aviation facility located off Allentown's Lehigh Street. Queen City is used predominantly by private aviation. Other general-aviation airports include Braden Airpark (also owned by the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority) in Easton, Hackettstown Airport in eastern Warren County, New Jersey, and Jake Arner Memorial Airport in Lehighton.
Public bus service in Lehigh Valley is available through the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority, known as LANTA. In New Jersey, bus service is provided by NJ Transit including to Centre Square in Easton. Carbon Transit provides service within Carbon County.
The Lehigh Valley's inter-city bus links are to New York City, Reading, and Harrisburg, served by Klein Transportation, Fullington Trailways, Greyhound Lines, and Trans-Bridge Lines. The region has direct bus service to Philadelphia via OurBus. Martz Trailways stops in Allentown and at the Pocono interchange of Interstate 476 with service to Scranton via Wilkes-Barre and to Philadelphia. This is an Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach route connecting to Amtrak at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Chinatown bus lines operates multiple roundtrip bus lines daily between Manhattan and the Wind Creek Bethlehem casino in Bethlehem; more than 3,000 passengers use this service daily as of 2014.
The Lehigh Valley is a major national thruway for commercial rail transport with roughly 65 commercial trains passing through the Valley daily. The region's largest freight rail operator is Norfolk Southern Railway, which uses two former rail lines, Lehigh Valley Railroad's Lehigh Line and Reading Railroad's Reading Line. Norfolk Southern Railway has major classification rail yards in both Allentown and Bethlehem.
Passenger train service in the Valley is available at the Hackettstown station in Warren County. Outside the Valley but within proximity, passenger rail is available at Doylestown, roughly 31 miles (50 km) southeast, and at Annandale, roughly 42 miles (68 km) west. The Valley's closest Amtrak station is the Bryn Mawr SEPTA stop about 48 miles (77 km) miles south.
The Lehigh Valley has four major highways: Interstate 78, a major east-west highway, runs through the southern part of the Valley, duplexed with Pennsylvania Route 309. I-78 runs from Lebanon County in the west, where Interstate 81 provides a connection to Harrisburg, to the Holland Tunnel and New York City in the east.
U.S. Route 22 is a major freeway that runs through the Valley from Kuhnsville in the western part of the Valley to Easton in the eastern part of the Valley. U.S. Route 22 starts in Cincinnati, Ohio in the west, running through the Valley to Newark, New Jersey in the east. A third highway, Pennsylvania Route 33, runs north-south through the Lehigh Valley, from the Poconos in the north to Northampton County in the south.
The fourth major highway in the Valley is Interstate 476, the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It stretches 131 miles (211 km) from Chester in the south to the Scranton–Wilkes Barre area in the north.
Other major roads in the Valley include MacArthur Road (PA 145), a divided local road that leads to the Lehigh Valley Mall and its surrounding commercial district. Cedar Crest Boulevard, a north-south highway, runs from North Whitehall Township in the north through west-side Allentown to Emmaus in the south. Lehigh Street runs from northeast to southwest, originating in downtown Allentown and ending in Emmaus. Tilghman Street runs from Fogelsville in the west to continue as Union Boulevard into Bethlehem in the east. Tilghman Street runs through most of Allentown and also intersects with Cedar Crest Boulevard, Pennsylvania Route 100, Pennsylvania Route 309 and several other major Lehigh Valley highways.
The Lehigh Valley area initially was served only by the 215 area code from 1947 (when the North American Numbering Plan of the Bell System went into effect) until 1994. With the region's growing population, however, Lehigh Valley areas were afforded area code 610 in 1994. Today, the Lehigh Valley is mainly covered by 610. An overlay area code, 484, was added to the 610 service area in 1999. A plan to introduce area code 835 as an additional overlay was rescinded in 2001. Area code 570 serves the majority of Carbon County and the Portland exchange in Northampton County. Area code 908 serves Warren County, New Jersey and area code 215 serves the portion of extreme southern Lehigh County in the Pennsburg exchange.
The Lehigh Valley AVA was designated an official American Viticultural Area in March 2008. The wine region includes 230 acres (93 ha) of vineyards, planted to several Vitis vinifera and French-American hybrid grape varieties. Blue Mountain Vineyards in New Tripoli accounts of over 50 acres in the region and has won national and international awards. Fifteen to twenty percent of the wine produced commercially in Pennsylvania is made from grapes grown in the Lehigh Valley AVA. The Warren Hills AVA includes all of Warren County southeast of Paulins Kill.
Notable people from the Lehigh ValleyEdit
The Lehigh Valley is the birthplace or home to a number of famous Americans, including:
- Mario Andretti, former professional race car driver
- Michael Andretti, professional racing team owner and race car driver
- Saquon Barkley, professional football player, New York Giants
- Chuck Bednarik, former professional football player, Philadelphia Eagles, 1967 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee
- Stephen Vincent Benét, poet and novelist
- Sabrina Carpenter, actress and singer
- Leon Carr, former Broadway songwriter and composer
- Jack Coleman, actor, NBC's Heroes
- Michaela Conlin, actress, Angela Montenegro character on Fox's Bones
- H.D., poet and novelist
- Jimmy DeGrasso, heavy metal drummer, Alice Cooper band and former drummer, Megadeth and Ratt
- Dane DeHaan, television and film actor, In Treatment and Chronicle
- Charlie Dent, former member of Congress
- Devon, adult film actress
- Keith Dorney, former professional football player, Detroit Lions
- Jonathan Frakes, actor, Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Mike Hartenstine, former professional football player, Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings
- Bob Heffner, former professional baseball player, Boston Red Sox, California Angels and Cleveland Indians
- Tim Heidecker, actor, comedian, musician, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and Decker
- Larry Holmes, former boxing heavyweight champion
- Todd Howard, video game designer, Fallout and The Elder Scrolls
- Lee Iacocca, former president and chief executive officer, Chrysler Corporation
- Keith Jarrett, jazz musician
- Michael Johns, health care executive, former White House presidential speechwriter
- Dwayne Johnson ("The Rock"), actor, former professional wrestler
- Billy Kidman, former professional wrestler
- Daniel Dae Kim, film and television actor, ABC's Lost
- Steve Kimock, rock musician
- John Kline, former member of Congress
- Brian Knobbs, former professional wrestler
- Dan Koppen, former professional football player, Denver Broncos and New England Patriots
- Carson Kressley, fashion consultant, Bravo's Queer Eye
- Varvara Lepchenko, professional tennis player
- Jonathan Linton, former professional football player, Buffalo Bills
- William Marchant, playwright and screenwriter
- Kristen Maloney, 2000 Olympian gymnast
- Ed McCaffrey, former professional football player, Denver Broncos, New York Giants, and San Francisco 49ers
- Kate Micucci, actress, comedian, singer-songwriter
- Matt Millen, former professional football player, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins, former president and general manager, Detroit Lions
- Lara Jill Miller, actress and voice actress, NBC's Gimme a Break! and Nickelodeon's The Amanda Show
- Marty Nothstein, former Olympic gold medal winner, track cycling
- Andre Reed, former professional football player, Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins, 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee
- Ian Riccaboni author, sports broadcaster for Ring of Honor professional wrestling
- Daniel Roebuck, actor, Matlock, Lost, Glee and Grimm
- Jimmie Schaffer, former professional baseball player, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals
- Brian Schneider, former professional baseball player, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals
- Amanda Seyfried, model and film and television actress, The CW's Veronica Mars and HBO's Big Love
- Shadow Gallery, progressive metal band
- Sheetal Sheth, actress, Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World
- Curt Simmons, former professional baseball player, California Angels, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals
- Dana Snyder, voice actor, Adult Swim's Aqua Teen Hunger Force
- Christine Taylor, actress and wife of actor Ben Stiller
- Jonathan Taylor Thomas, actor, ABC's Home Improvement
- Boris Vallejo, science fiction and fantasy fiction artist
- Bobby Weaver, 1984 Olympic gold medal winner, wrestling
- Lauren Weisberger, author, The Devil Wears Prada
- Cindy Werley, 1996 Olympic field hockey player
- Jordan White, rock musician
- David Zinczenko, founder and chief executive officer, Galvanized, author Eat This, Not That
- David Zippel, Tony-award-winning lyricist, City of Angels
|Geographic area||July 1, 2005||Census 2000||1990 Census||1980 Census||1970 Census|
|Allentown–Bethlehem–Easton, PA–NJ MSA||790,535||740,395||686,688||635,481||594,382|
|Carbon County, Pennsylvania||61,959||58,802||56,846||53,285||50,573|
|Lehigh County, Pennsylvania||330,433||312,090||291,130||272,349||255,304|
|Northampton County, Pennsylvania||287,767||267,066||247,105||225,418||214,368|
|Warren County, New Jersey||110,376||102,437||91,607||84,429||73,960|
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- Musikfest official website
- Das Awkscht Fescht official website
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- Bear Creek Resort official website
- Blue Mountain Resort official website
- Steel Ice Center official website
- Lehigh Valley Ice Arena official website
- Skate Plaza at City of Bethlehem website
- https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B071YKWZBR/ref=sspa_dk_detail_0?pd_rd_i=B07113K8R9&pd_rd_w=6O3gf&pf_rd_p=45a72588-80f7-4414-9851-786f6c16d42b&pd_rd_wg=oA5KV&pf_rd_r=J9NM8HYAFRFQ4XJ22K5R&pd_rd_r=c700b74f-94ba-4c1a-abdf-6f03a8a9ffac&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEySEY0NjNPUURJSFk0JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNjg0NDk1M0ROSDgxOVRGSk9WQSZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNTkzODgzMjNRWjRJWFlDMVRLOSZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2RldGFpbCZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU&th=1[bare URL]
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- Lauer-Williams, Kathy (2008). "Lehigh Valley wineries earn recognition". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. April 17, 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lehigh Valley.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Lehigh Valley.|
- Official website at Discover Lehigh Valley
- Lehigh Valley news at The Morning Call
- "Famous People from the Lehigh Valley," The Baltimore Sun, August 9, 2005