1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Allentown

ALLENTOWN, a city and the county-seat of Lehigh county, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., on the Lehigh river, about 62 m. N.N.W. of Philadelphia. Pop. (1890) 25,228; (1900) 35,416, of whom 2994 were foreign-born, 1065 being of German birth; (1910) 51.913. It is served by the Central of New Jersey, the Lehigh Valley, the Perkiomen (of the Reading system) and the Philadelphia & Reading railways. The city is situated on high ground sloping gently towards the river and commanding diversified views of the surrounding country. Hamilton Street, the principal business thoroughfare, extends over 2 m. from E. to W., and in what was once the centre of the city is Centre Square, in which there is a monument to the memory of the soldiers and sailors who fell in the Civil War. Allentown is the seat of a state homoeopathic hospital for the insane, of the Allentown College for Women (Reformed Church, 1867), and of Muhlenberg College (1867), an Evangelical Lutheran institution which grew out of the Allentown Seminary (established in 1848 and incorporated as the “ Allentown Collegiate Institute and Military Academy ” in 1864); in 1907 the college had 191 students, of whom 109 were in the Allentown Preparatory School (1904), formerly the academic department of the college and still closely affiliated with it. The surrounding country is well adapted to agriculture, and slate, iron ore, cement rock and limestone are found in the vicinity. Allentown is an important manufacturing centre, and the value of its manufactured products increased 90.9% from 1890 to 1900, and of its factory product 13.2% between 1900 and 1905. In 1905 the city ranked sixth among the cities of the country in the manufacture of silk and silk goods, its most important industry. Other important manufactures are iron and steel, slaughtering and meat-packing products, boots and shoes, cigars, furniture, men's clothing, hosiery and knit goods, jute and jute goods, linen-thread, malt liquors, brick, cement, barbed wire, wire nails and planing-mill products. Allentown's total factory product in 1905 was valued at $16,966,550, of which $3,901,240, or 23%, was the value of silk and silk goods. The municipality owns and operates its water-works. Allentown was first settled in 1751; in 1762 it was laid out as a town by James Allen, the son of a chief-justice of the province, in honour of whose family the city is named; in 1811 it was incorporated as a borough and its name was changed to Northampton; in 1812 it was made the county-seat; in 1838 the present name was again adopted; and in 1867 the first city charter was secured. The silk industry was introduced in 1881.