|JUNE 15, 2011
|We Present the Truth, But You Do Not Comprehend
By Dennis L. Pearson
(c) 2009 by Dennis L. Pearson --- All Rights Reserved --- No part of this work
may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or
mechanical, including photocopying and recording or by any information
storage or retrieval system, without permission from the author.
During the mid to late fifties the Lehigh Valley was predominately agricultural in both
orientation and thought. The then existing industrial complex being primarily
concentrated in the cities (that is, Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton in Pennsylvania
and Phillipsburg in New Jersey) and a few outlying suburban communities. We note
the heart of this four county industrial complex comprised the Bethlehem Steel
Corporation, New Jersey Zinc Company, Ingersoll-Rand, Mack Trucks, Air Products &
Chemicals, Lehigh Portland Cement and Western Electric ( evolving from AT & T
Technologies, Lucent Technologies, to Agere Technologies and to LSI).
In the same mid to late fifties period there stood a lonely candle-like building
protruding upward into the sky like a beacon for progress. This was the corporate
headquarters for the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company located at 9th & Hamilton
Streets in downtown Allentown. It was the area's only skyscraper then, easy to see day
or night, in an empty and seemingly undeveloped land that could not comprehend or
visualize that P.P & L would become a very strong advocate or ally for planned
industrial development activities and home development activities that would
forever change the long-term economic usage of land resources that can be best
described as sacred and irreplaceable.
Simply stated, whether individuals within the PP & L were the authors, the disciples,
the instigators, the planners, the architects, or the draftsmen of enhanced
transformation activities, the historic fact is that corporate leaders of PP & L in the mid
to late fifties understood that such activities would increase customer demand for
electric service within the PP & L's service area. Consequently, corporate leaders
informed corporate stockholders that additional power capacity had to be furnished to
meet the future requirements of new residential, industrial, and commercial
customers. And with this investment in capital and resources, the PP & L had a vested
interest in offering its expertise to those adherents for enhanced urban development
whose implied and secret purpose was to educate both the public and government
officials as to benefits that would be derived from economic development activities in
areas that were historically agricultural in orientation and thought.
Genevieve Blatt, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Internal Affairs in the George Leader
Administration (1955 - 1958) once likened Metropolitan area growth in the United
States to the human life. She said:
"We're now suffering the same growing pains that at the same time depressed us and
exhilarated us as individuals in our adolescence... Adolescence goes hand in hand
with boundless energy, limitless imagination, chronic optimism, and in some instances
a bit of naivete that comes from lack of experience,"
In analysis, Secretary Blatt suggested that our communities were leaping from infancy
to adulthood without being able to afford the luxury of casual youth. To which we
reply: " The thought has occurred to us that this sudden rush of the Lehigh Valley
from infancy to adolescence to premature adulthood could lead to a dramatic decline
into maturity and senility in rapid succession if the destruction of moral
considerations resultant from uncontrolled and mismanaged economic development
became too severe to be corrected within acceptable monetary limits."
In 1957, Ralph C. Swartz, a Vice President for Commercial Operations for the
Pennsylvania Power & Light Company, explained to the Tri-City Conference, an
association comprising public officials of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton,
that a community can be stable, can grow and expand in wealth only " by
mining, manufacturing, and processing commodities to sell." Hence, the wealth
of a community depended upon its industry.
But what factors are important to an industry seeking a site for location or
expansion? Mr. Swartz spelled out that an industry seeking a site for location or
expansion looks for a desirable industrial climate, good labor markets,
reasonable tax rates, plus good schools, churches, residential areas and
recreational and cultural facilities. But what Mr. Swartz stressed most was that
industry wanted to be accepted not just by public officials but by the public as
well. He said: " The attitude of the public reflects on its public officials and
healthy relationships result."
*** *** ***
We initiated this study believing that we can come to a general understanding
concerning the chronology and decision-making that has led to the planned or
unanticipated destruction of the character of the Lehigh Valley's landscape
from largely rural to urban sprawl in the name of an ideal called Megalopolis.
A megalopolis, of course, is an urban complex encompassing several major
cities. Its application in the Lehigh Valley region would be the Standard
Metropolitan Statistical Area (S.M.S.A) of Allentown-Bethlehem and Easton (A-B-
E). The A-B-E S.M.S.A comprises the Counties of Carbon, Lehigh and
Northampton in Pennsylvania and Warren County in New Jersey. We add that in
regards to this study we shall concentrate on considerations that have
impacted upon Lehigh County and its major city, Allentown; and we shall only
concern ourselves with Carbon, Northampton or Warren Counties should
developments there tie-in and match our field of consideration.
Basically, we are very concerned that the long-range regional drive for
economic transformation, community metamorphosis and social reorganization
may be too costly to achieve in terms of both moral and monetary values; and
more important, it may be too costly to achieve in the terms of the necessitated
encroachment upon personal values and freedom.
What we have in the Allentown-Lehigh County area is a clash of what
individuals, groups, corporations, and government units’ view as the undefined
future. Simply stated --- one facet of the argument is the growth-no growth
issue, the other facet is a creation of a new balance of power.
Allentown, the County Seat of Lehigh County, the declining industrial, and
besieged retail and cultural center of the Lehigh Valley, still tends to view the
suburban and rural areas of the Lehigh County as the tribute-paying colonies
they once were. It still regards itself as the real center of power in the area, not
having come to grips with a change in population demographics and the
inexorable slide of jobs and money in other directions.
The fact is, since 1970 the city's population declined about 5.6 percent while the
population of Lehigh County inclusive of Allentown population figures rose by
5.5 percent. The population of Lehigh County in 1980 comprises 272,349 souls.
In want of a better word, the townships and municipalities of western Lehigh
County consider Allentown as irrelevant. Outside the municipal boundaries of
Allentown are locating the industries, which hopefully would keep Lehigh
County and the Lehigh Valley a growth area throughout the rest of the century
and beyond. Its natural markets and lessons about living are inclined toward
influence other than Allentown.
We note --- as this process gained momentum, it produced within the region's
chief city (Allentown) a more urban style population with all its related social and
economic problems, and has fostered a tax base that in the best scenario has
grown only slightly. A development, which in the course of time has affected the
city’s ability to provide, needed services in such areas as parks and recreation,
health delivery, police and fire protection. Yet, the water and wastewater
treatment service provided by Allentown has historically been the focal point
around which suburban units sought growth for their communities.
*** *** ***
The Borough of Emmaus became the first municipality to tie-in into the
Allentown wastewater treatment network and this tie-in set the stage for other
tie-in requests; requests that Allentown could only handle by expansion of
reserve capacity of the Kline's Island Wastewater Treatment Plant.
We surmise that the Borough of Emmaus announcement in October of 1956 that
it would build a wastewater treatment plant on the Little Lehigh Creek just one-
half mile above the Allentown water filtration plant intake had a troubling
aftermath on Allentown Officials.
Allentown Mayor Donald V. Hock placed this problem on the agenda of the Tri-
City Conference, which comprised the mayors, and municipal officials of
Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton. Historically, The Tri-City Conference can be
best described as an early predecessor of regional planning that in our study
period had not outlived its usefulness despite the existence of the Joint
Planning Commission of Lehigh and Northampton Counties. This point
demonstrated by the periodic get together of Allentown Mayor Joseph S.
Daddona, Bethlehem Mayor Paul Marcincin, and Easton Mayor Salvatore Panto
and their top aides.
It was this Tri-City Conference that sponsored a historic gathering of
representatives from twenty-three political subdivisions of Lehigh and
Northampton Counties that met at the former South Mountain Junior High
School in Allentown during a snow storm, October 7, 1957... Furthermore, it was
this association that invited or arranged for Genevieve Blatt, the Secretary of
Internal Affairs in the George Leader Administration, to be the main speaker.
*** *** ***
Our initial mission was to chronicle the enthusiasm of political leaders,
influential citizens, businessmen and the electronic and printed media to
advance the opening of western Lehigh County for new economic development
activities. In the pages of the Lehigh Valley Common Sense Herald we
characterized these people as the masterminds of the transformation and noted
that they had acquired the mind set that traditional agricultural activities in
western Lehigh County in the long-run would not be economically correct for
the future interests of Lehigh County.
*** *** ***
Nevertheless in Lehigh County a number of citizens emerged to express
concerns about the loss of open space in the County. Consequently, in 1987
, the Lehigh County Commissioners adopted a resolution creating a Lehigh
County Farmland Preservation Task Force. This task force reviewed Lehigh
County farmland studies, assessed county wide interest in farmland
preservation, and made recommendations for future farmland preservation
actions in the county.
But surely one can surmise that this incipient County farmland preservation
activity was not conducted in complete isolation. Lehigh County officials and
advocates for land preservation had to be aware that the State of Pennsylvania
in 1987 had placed a $100 million farmland preservation bond referendum on
that year's November general election ballot. The bond issue passed but at this
moment my research has not revealed whether the County took this action
before the election in anticipation of passage of the bond and the enactment
new enabling legislation that they could tap money from or afterward.
And on whatever side one was on the growth or non-growth issue, both sides
acted the same way when money was added into the equation... Money created
interest in whatever activity it advocated.
As it happened, following the passage of the bond issue, the Pennsylvania
legislature amended the Agricultural Area Security Law (Act 43 of 1981),
enabling Pennsylvania counties to tap the $100 million farmland preservation
fund for the purchase of agricultural conservation easements.
You guessed it, 1989, the Lehigh County Commissioners established a Lehigh
County Agricultural Land Preservation Board with Ordinance 1989 - No. 117.
This 9 member board's primary purpose was to preserve farmland in Lehigh
County by developing and administering a program to purchase agricultural
conservation easements from landowners in the county.
Continued concerns about the loss of open space prompted the County to
conduct a referendum to establish a $30 million bond pool – the Green Future
Fund – to preserve green space. This proposal was supported by 64 percent of
the voters in 2003.
In a 2005 Lehigh County Land Use and Growth Management, Lehigh County
touted itself as having a very aggressive farmland and open space preservation
program focused upon acquisitions outside the path of future growth. As of
June 2003, the Lehigh County Agricultural Land Preservation Board had
protected 154 farms with permanent conservation easements totaling 13,925
acres – or about 6 percent of the County’s total land area. The highest
concentration of preserved farmland is located in the northwestern part of the
County. An area that for years was represented for years by quiet-spoken but
iron willed Sterling Raber whose day time job was a pig farmer.
*** *** ***
Since August 1981 the Common Sense Herald has stood tall in reporting the
story. But in 1996 a colleague wondered if he could say anything new and
profound about the events that have occurred and consequences that followed.
He also wondered whether the Common Sense Herald was the proper vehicle in
the age of electronic mail and the Internet to tell the story. This is due to the fact
that matters in the Lehigh Valley are now effected by outside forces, which are
beyond the control of local officials on the city and county level, and by trends
being set by these outside forces, including the national and international
In the Lehigh Valley, part of the story, of course, is that we are using up too
much valuable farmland in order to pursue our economic development goals.
And, land developers wait like vultures to devour the carcasses of former farms.
If Western Lehigh County were a real frontier, (that is, it was land occupied by
no one except God's creatures,) one pictures hundreds of land hungry settlers
arriving by Conestoga wagon in order to claim valuable real estate for
themselves by squatters occupation. Once the signal was given it was a real
horse race to stake a claim... However, in the context of Pennsylvania history,
the race for land might involve frontiersmen staking out a claim by human
power rather than by animal power. In fact, we might say that these frontiersmen
could have conceivably invented the future Olympic sport of fast walking by
their ability to move quickly even though not actually in a running gait. But that
is not the true image of what happened.
The true image was, in fact, detailed in past reports of the Herald and will be
recreated in this manuscript: " We present the truth, but you do not
comprehend: "A Study of the Transformation of Lehigh County from its
Traditional Agricultural Roots to that of Enhanced Urban Sprawl." Please
consider this manuscript as a road map that highlights the important steps
along the transformation journey. It was our intent that this road map provides
the reader with a constructive understanding of this transformation journey and
encourages them to recognize the importance of their personal responsibility to
divert these economic activities to the proper highway.
Please note -- When we speak of the proper highway, we do not speak in the
physical sense, but in the metaphysical sense. Therefore, we do not speak of
route 78, route 33 or Basin Street when we speak of diverting economic
development activities to the proper highway. But interestingly, these roadways
indeed played a role as the story line unfolded.
*** *** ***
In this it may appear that we pay more attention to Genevieve Blatt then her
participation in the transformation of the Lehigh Valley might warrant. Yet we
regard Genevieve Blatt as a symbol of the optimism that prevailed during the
period concerning economic growth and inter-community co-operation.
Consequently, reflection upon Genevieve Blatt's words develop for us a useful
tool to introduce the portfolio (or myriad) of quasi-governmental agencies and
corporations that developed just before, in conjunction, and within a reasonable
time period after her historic visit to the Lehigh Valley.
It also came apparent from our study the ever present participation of the
Pennsylvania Power & Light Company in this transitional development. We note
--- the presence of a speaker from the P.P & L at the before mentioned South
Mountain Conference. We note --- the use of Jack Gross, an employee of P.P. &
L in the drafting and implementation of the Pennsylvania Industrial
Development Assistance Act. And, we note the same involvement of another P.
P. & L figure in regards to the formation of the Industrial Development
Corporation of Lehigh County.
Are we indicating that the P.P. & L acted irresponsibly in participating as they
did? No, we don't say that. But what we say is that the Pennsylvania Power &
Light Company growth depended upon the transformation of what might be
perceived as undeveloped land into residential units, industrial sites and
commercial oriented establishments; and, we do suggest that the P.P & L would
encourage public policy to be established toward that end.
*** *** ***
The implied agenda of the P.P. & L received its expression through the creation
of the Joint Planning Commission, Lehigh and Northampton Counties and the
Industrial Development Corporation of Lehigh County.
Concerning the IDC --- its stated purpose as of 1964 was to assist, develop and
promote the industrial and economic development of the County of Lehigh and
I. Cyrus Gutman, President of the Industrial Development Corporation of Lehigh
County until his retirement in 1984, has proven to be a mainstay in this quest
since 1959. Gutman's office and his staff as 0f 1983 has been credited with
paving the way for 244 new industries and commercial projects to start up in the
Valley; and, in addition, the services of the IDC were used in 399 expansions of
local industries and commercial projects. Statistically, this adds up to
approximately 36,430 jobs with annual payrolls of more than $405 million.
These figures seem to be impressive. But, we must stress that most of these
gains were in the townships of western Lehigh County, not Allentown; and also,
we must inquire whether the good that was derived from these projects render
insignificant the possible unpleasant realities of excessive moral or monetary
costs? Or shall it be vice versa.
What do we mean by moral costs? We mean the abuse of God's elements by
individuals guided only by thoughts for material gain. And, in this regard we are
speaking of the impairment of air quality, degradation and overuse of water
resources and disturbances and willful depletion of topsoil qualities.
What do we mean by monetary costs? We mean the level of support passed on
to present and future taxpayers, users and consumers to finance capital
improvement and service projects deemed necessary and a priority by decision-
makers whether they be from government, the utilities or business.
*** *** ***
Indeed we live in interesting times in the Lehigh Valley, while officials in Lehigh
and Northampton Counties seek economic development activities that use up
valuable farmland at an alarming rate; we also see the reverse trend of industrial
abandonment in our urban core areas.
Lehigh County economic development leaders are very delighted that brand
name companies such as Nestle and Pillsbury have decided to locate land
consuming new warehouse operations in what remains of the alfalfa, corn and
wheat fields of Western Lehigh County and that Perrier Water of Switzerland
and the Coca Cola Bottling Company of Atlanta, Georgia have followed suit
Northampton County, we see more of the same in the Industrial Parks along U.
S. Route 22.
However, I ask --- Can these leaders be satisfied with this short list of industrial
sites in the urban core of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon Counties of
Pennsylvania and Warren County in New Jersey that will be or have been totally
or partially abandoned: Mack Trucks, Lehigh Structural Steel, Black and Decker,
Neuweiler Beer, Horlacher Beer, Bethlehem Steel, Durkee-French Foods/Spice
Factory, Champion Spark plugs, New Jersey Zinc Company and countless
Does this mean that the Lehigh Valley is: lacking in providing a desirable
industrial climate? Does this mean that the Lehigh Valley is lacking in providing
good labor markets? Does this mean that the Lehigh Valley is lacking in
assessing reasonable tax rates? And also, does this mean that the Lehigh
Valley is lacking in providing good schools, churches, residential areas and
recreational and cultural facilities? And finally, does this mean that public
support for industry is lacking in the Lehigh Valley?
I am quite certain that this set of circumstances was quite upsetting to Harrison
E. Forker, an avid fisherman, who was very concerned about the quality of
Lehigh Valley waterways and the water and sewer infrastructure that supported
economic growth activities in the Lehigh Valley region, especially western
I miss Harry... When I was a young puppy in the old Community of
Neighborhood Organizations; it was Harry who took me under his wings... We
would spend many hours talking about water and sewer issues... And when I
established the Allentown/Lehigh Valley Common Sense Herald Newsletter in
1981, Harry Forker joined the enterprise which also included a third member,
Gordon D. Sharp Jr.
I admired Harry for his willingness to confront public officials with his facts and
concerns... I admired Harry for his willingness to continue the fight despite the
resistance and mockery of public officials and the media... In my book Harry
Forker did comprehend the long-range environmental and economic impact of
the economic development goals advocated by our public officials... In my
book, these same public officials did not comprehend in the long-run the
negative implications of their long-range economic development goals.
I am very proud that Harry Forker stood with me the day that we took a sleeping
bag to the Office of former Mayor Joseph S. Daddona in protest of then current
conditions at the Kline's Island Waste Water Treatment Plant.
Harry, I guess, is now in that place that no wide-eyed developer can go, he is
now throwing his fly line into that pristine cold-water stream of eternity seeking
to bring in the perfect brook or brown trout...
The early 1996 announcement by nationsCredit that it will relocate various
business operations now centered in Allentown and relocate these operations
to Dallas, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia is very unsettling. Behaviorists say that we
ought to feel more comfortable when we know what to expect next.
Unfortunately, that state of circumstance won't work with me on this issue. If we
can only expect more of the same, that real-time reality certainly won't make me
feel any more comfortable then before. The fact is, I am tired of this internal
hemorrhaging that is inflicting the Lehigh Valley even with all the economic
development activity that is said to be ongoing. I am tired of the loss of good
jobs; and, I am very much concerned by the many dislocations that are
occurring here... And, I pray that we can turn the corner.
The loss of Nation's Credit is just one of a series of economic losses to
downtown Allentown which includes the departure of the mortgage servicing
center of first fidelity and the corporate headquarters of the Lehigh Portland
Cement Company. It is not hard to forget that the onetime All-American City
once had a downtown business district (Hamilton Street) flanked by three
homegrown department stores which served as a hub for serious shopping by
the vast majority of Lehigh County residents. But as we write, Hess's, Leh's,
and Zollinger Harnerd are only notations in the pages of the Queen City's
history. The fact is, the shopping district of choice for most Lehigh Countians
has moved north to MacArthur Road in Whitehall Township. And at this
moment, we are also seeing the development of a second shopping center of
choice to the west on Tilghman Street in South Whitehall Township. And, to add
to the insult, financial institutions such as Merrill, Lynch. Pierce, Fenner & Smith
and Legg, Mason, Wood and Walker, Incorporated have followed the Lehigh
County Authority's Highway of Wastewater west and have set up business in
the Iron Run Corporate Center in Lower Macungie Township.
Paul McHale, formerly a Democratic U.S. Congressman from the 15th
Congressional District of Pennsylvania (1993-1999) and a Sierra Club
supporter, while in office voiced a strong concern that "We're using up
valuable farmland" for new industrial sites rather than reusing existing
properties that "would be just as appropriate" if the pollution liability questions
would be addressed. So in proposed legislation he addressed these pollution
liability concerns by providing incentives to expedite the reuse of abandoned
industrial sites. Says McHale, "It's vital for the future economy of the Lehigh
Valley" that the Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Act of
1996 be passed. The legislation addressed industrial sites with enough
pollution to be considered extreme liability risks for developers and lending
institutions, but not enough pollution to qualify for Superfund provisions.
McHale's legislation called for the release of liability to new site owners and
lenders, which many say constitutes a major roadblock to Brownfields
development. The bill reportedly would establish cleanup standards that are
protective of public health and the environment. Says McHale: "The
responsibility for pollution should be that of the polluters, not those who plan to
develop the land after the polluters are gone.
Hey little children what do you see? One Hundred acres of prime Bethlehem Steel
Company property sprawling vacant in front of me! Hey little children what do you
see? Blackened and useless hulks of a once proud blast furnace standing in front me!
Hey little children what do you see? The faces of effected United Steelworkers of
America union members leaving the premises of "OLE" Bessy for the last time!
Later in 1996, employees of the former Allentown office of General Acceptance, Bank
of America and Chrysler First also walked out the door of their center city
Allentown office for the last time. Their jobs as we said earlier were transferred
to Atlanta, Georgia and Dallas, Texas... Some of these employees will choose to
follow Nation's Credit to either Atlanta or Dallas or other hot spots within the
NationsCredit system... The rest remained behind in a job market that was
extremely tight due to the amount of business downsizing that occurred here
locally. Even the beacon of economic progress in the Lehigh Valley, the
Pennsylvania Power & Light Company, is hard at work reducing its personnel.
This scenario, seemingly, a by-product of the economic mindset which inflicts
corporate America and corporate Planet Earth today. It's part of the mindset of
the freewheeling global economy. That is, domestic or foreign companies
essentially in the same business or market, may buy other businesses to
incorporate the strength or ingenuity of that business into their own network of
businesses and then announce plans to close down the older or less strategic
facilities when a surplus of capacity is created in the network
Please note --- such business decisions, result in much dislocation of workers
and works to frustrate long-term city planning. City Administrators may think
that the worst was over in these dislocations only to see more of the same
For employees of NationsCredit, this trail of tears had its incubation in the
1970's when General Acceptance, a local firm, decided to sale out to the Bank of
America, not a local firm. To the Bank of America's credit, it did not buy General
Acceptance to co-op or eliminate competition, rather it sought to strengthen its
own business operations by strengthening and improving the business of
General Acceptance. But for whatever reasons, the Bank of America sold the
former General Acceptance business unit in Allentown to Chrysler First.
Unfortunately, for the former employees of General Acceptance their business
unit was rapidly becoming a pawn in the financial market of buy and sell. And
Chrysler First brought forth the final act in the drama when it sold off the former
General Acceptance business unit to Nation's Credit.
The employees of Bethlehem-based Durkee Spice Factory share the feeling as
their parent company, Beatrice, the giant food conglomerate, elected to sale off
their business unit to an Australian firm which immediately decided it created
surplus capacity in its business organization with its purchase of the Durkee
plant in Bethlehem... Perhaps all the long, this Australian firm, wanted to close
Durkee and keep its plant in Iowa. So mischievously it elected to pit one
American community against and another to get a better deal. And more
mischievously. It forced the United Steelworkers of America to go head to head
against another union --- So much for union solidarity! The decision made that
the Durkee spice factory based in Bethlehem would become history --- Another
casualty of the ongoing economic warfare which has erupted intra-state, inter-
state, and internationally! And another sign that the Service economy is taking
over big time in the Lehigh Valley as manufacturing leaves. On the very same
property that the Durkee Spice Factory proudly stood is now occupied by a
*** *** ***
Lastly, before we end this discussion, we find it imperative to state our views on
the complex subject of spatial urban growth.
We don't want to give the impression that we are against all spatial urban
growth. After all, spatial growth that comes about, as the result of normal
population increase pressures is simply avoidable and natural. But spatial
urban growth being the end result of induced and unneeded speculative
ventures is avoidable and unfortunate.
We acknowledge that the "die was cast" for past, present and possible future
spatial urban growth activities the day Allentown agreed to accept effluent from
Emmaus into its wastewater treatment network; and significantly, this
occurrence also marked the regionalization of Allentown's Kline's Island
Wastewater Treatment Plant.
We note --- a lot of money these past years have been spent by either the City of
Allentown, County of Lehigh, Lehigh County Authority and suburban entities to
create an inter-linking interceptor and collector system that would be serviced
by one or more regional wastewater treatment plants. The excuse for these
projects was the need to have in place the infrastructure necessary to service
wanted economic development projects like F.M. Schaefer Brewing Company
and Kraft Foods. Notice --- we have underlined the word wanted because there
is a question whether the need was present for said projects being located
where they were located in the first place. We believe the projects were
purposely targeted for the townships of western Lehigh County as a means to
foster the enhanced urbanization of the Lehigh Valley. Meanwhile, in Allentown,
within a relative short period the Horlacher and Neuweiler Breweries ceased
operation as well as the Arbogast & Bastian Meat packing Plant. The blighting
remains of these operations haunted Allentown's Sixth and first ward
landscape into the new 21st Century. But interestingly, boarded up windows
and doors provide great opportunity for politicians to hang up their campaign
posters especially on the Neuweiler building. Recently, however there has been
some movement to bring these old properties back to life. At the Old A &B site a
new Mack Truck supported America On Wheels, automotive museum offers a
glimpse of the past, present and future of the nation's over-the-road
transportation system and seeks to preserve its legacy by looking back in time,
collecting valuable artifacts and vehicles and illustrating the tremendous impact
transportation has had on people's daily lives. However, any proposed re-
development of the Neuweiler tract might take years to materialize.
Indeed, it is the intent of this study to present a reminder of the hidden
destructive nature of the beast --- the developing Megalopolis of the Lehigh
We also note --- in the process of creating the system, a lot of mistakes were
made. Unfortunately these same mistakes have done damage to the City of
Allentown and will impact on other Lehigh Valley communities as well. What
bothers this writer the most about this situation is the fact that Allentown's
water supply has become threatened by this rush within the last forty years to
urbanize western Lehigh County. This is indeed sad for an earlier generation of
Allentonians developed Allentown's park system in order to preserve for itself a
safe water supply. But now both the water supply and the Allentown Park
system seem to be threatened by the intentions of area developers