Buildings and architecture of Allentown, Pennsylvania

The buildings and architecture of Allentown reflect the city's history and settlement from the 18th century through the present. Allentown is characterized by a large number of historic homes, churches, commercial structures and century-old industrial buildings.

18th and 19th centuries

Allentown was founded in 1762. In the late 18th century, architecture made of brick and stone was not uncommon. Trout Hall, built in 1770 by James Allen, son of city founder William Allen, is the oldest standing house in Allentown. Located at South 4th Street and Walnut Street, the home was later known as the Livingston Mansion and in 1848 became the Allentown Seminary. In 1867 it housed the original premises of Muhlenberg College. Restored in 1905, Trout Hall is currently administered by the Lehigh County Historical Society. Allentown Symphony Hall, at 23 North Sixth Street in Center City, was constructed in 1896.

Zion's Reformed United Church of Christ, founded in 1762, is located at 620 W. Hamilton Street. The church's original structure was a log cabin Union Church it shared with the congregation of St. Paul's Lutheran. Zion's current building, a neo-gothic[1] structure built in the 1880s, hosts a sanctuary representing a high point in nineteenth-century church architecture, with stained glass art windows on all four walls interweaving biblical symbols with a floral motif, symbolizing the flowering of the new out of the old.[2]

Zion's also hosts the Liberty Bell Museum, due the special role the church played in protecting the Liberty Bell from capture by British forces in 1777. The Liberty Bell was hidden in Zion's basement, where the foundations of the 18th-century church can be seen to this day.

There are three historic districts in Allentown, Old Allentown, the Old Fairgrounds and West Park neighborhoods. Old Allentown and Old Fairgrounds are Center City neighborhoods that hold a joint house tour organized by Old Allentown Preservation Association (OAPA) once a year in September. The West Park neighborhood also offers a tour of this district's larger Victorian and Craftsman-style homes.[3]

20th century

In the 20th century, rowhomes, many built in the Victorian or Federal style, became popular in Allentown as in other industrial cities. The West End neighborhood, running roughly from 15th Street to Cedar Crest Boulevard, is famous for both its brick twin styles closer to the city center and large homes, including the Hess Mansion, further west.

The PPL Building, constructed between 1926 and 1928, is Allentown's tallest building at 322 feet (98 m). It is 23 stories high and is located at the northwest corner of 9th and Hamilton Street. A Lehigh Valley icon, this Art Deco tower can be seen from places throughout the Lehigh Valley; in clear weather, the tower can be seen as far north as Blue Mountain. The building was designed by architect and skyscraper pioneer Harvey Wiley Corbett (who would later have a hand in designing New York's Rockefeller Center) and was supervised by his assistant, Wallace Harrison (who would later design Lincoln Center, LaGuardia Airport and the U.N. Headquarters Building). The building exterior features bas reliefs by Alexander Archipenko. In 1930, the PPL Building was named the "best example of a modern office building" by Encyclopædia Britannica, and also featured the world's fastest elevator.

21st century

As of the early 21st century, much of Allentown's office and retail space is vacant. In December 2011, J.B. Reilly,[4] Alvin H. Butz[5] and other developers announced a series of new plans designed to bring service-based companies and white-collar workers back to the city while taking advantage of a special tax zone created for the construction of the new PPL Center at 7th and Hamilton Streets.

In recent years some historic industrial buildings have been converted to loft-style rental apartments. These include the Farr Lofts in Center City, the P&P Mill Building in the 1st Ward and Auburn Station near the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Center.

Tallest buildings in the Lehigh Valley

The tallest buildings and structures in the Lehigh Valley (metro Allentown) are: [6][7][8][9][10]

Rank Building Name Height
feet/meters
Floors Year
1 PPL Building 01.0322 / 98 23 1928
2 Episcopal House 01.0235 (estimated) / 71.6 19 1968
3 Five City Center 200 13 2019
4 Moravian House I 188 15 1974
5 Packer Memorial Church 01.0183 / 56 1885
6 Tower 6 180 12 2018
7 (tie) Sands Casino Resort Hotel 175 14 2011
7 (tie) The Fred B. Rooney Building 175 14 1979
9 (tie) First United Church of Christ 01.0173 / 53 1776
9 (tie) Regency Towers 173 14 1973
11 Two City Center 165 11 2014
12 (tie) Towne House Apartments 161 13 1976
12 (tie) Towers East 161 13 1967
14 Americus Center 150 13 1927
15 Bethlehem Steel Building 140 13 1916
16 (tie) Lutheran Manor Apartments 138 11 1977
16 (tie) One Bethlehem Plaza 138 11 1974
16 (tie) Monocacy Tower 138 11 1973
19 (tie) B'nai B'rith West Apartments 136 11 1979
19 (tie) Little Lehigh Manor 136 11 1979
21 Walter House 134 11 1963
22 Allentown Center Square 130 11 1911
23 (tie) Tower 65 125 10 1967
23 (tie) Moravian House 2 125 10 1979
25 (tie) Lehigh County Prison 124 10 1992
25 (tie) Hamilton Financial Center 124 10 1983
27 Renaissance Allentown Hotel 123 10 2015
28 The Eastonian 01.0121 / 37 10 1926
29 Alpha Building 115 10 1901
30 Tower Apartments 112.73 9 1966
31 Soldiers and Sailors Monument of Allentown 01.0112 / 34 1899
32 Lehigh County Courthouse 111 9 1965
33 Hotel Bethlehem 104 11 1922
34 (tie) The Andrew W. Litzenberger House 100 8 1967
34 (tie) Lehigh Valley Hospital - Muhlenberg 100 8 2005
34 (tie) No. 2 Machine Shop 100 8 1890
34 (tie) Iacocca Hall[11] 100 8 1961
38 Lehigh Valley Hospital - 17th Street 01.079 / 24 6 1952
39 Allentown Masonic Temple 01.077 / 24 6 1925
40 Soldiers' & Sailors' Monument of Easton 01.075 / 23 1900

[12][9][13][14][15]See also

References

  1. "Zion's United Church of Christ, Allentown, PA". Emporis.com.
  2. "Zion's Reformed UCC: Our Heritage". Zion's Reformed UCC: Our Heritage. Archived from the original on April 6, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  3. "Old Allentown Website". Old Allentown Website.
  4. Assad, Matt. "Developer unveils $50 million office complex". The Morning Call. The Morning Call. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  5. Zanki, Tom. "Alvin H. Butz Inc. expanding corporate headquarters in downtown Allentown". Lehigh Valley Live. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  6. "Tallest Buildings in Allentown". emporis.com. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  7. "Tallest Buildings in Bethlehem". emporis.com. Retrieved July 10, 2009.
  8. "Tallest Buildings in Easton". emporis.com. Retrieved July 10, 2009.
  9. Falsone, Nick (May 22, 2017). "This list of the Lehigh Valley's 25 tallest buildings is changing". lehighvalleylive.com. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  10. "Iacocca Hall, Bethlehem | 242293 | EMPORIS". www.emporis.com. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  11. "Lehigh County Courthouse, Allentown | 207127 | EMPORIS". www.emporis.com. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  12. "Two City Center, Allentown | 1431684 | EMPORIS". www.emporis.com. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  13. "Tower 6, Allentown | 1298688 | EMPORIS". www.emporis.com. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  14. "Five City Center, Allentown | 1248882 | EMPORIS". www.emporis.com. Retrieved June 22, 2019.

[1]

  1. "Bethlehem | Statistics | EMPORIS". www.emporis.com. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
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