On April 2nd, 1741 William Allen who Allentown would later be named, deeded 500
acres of land along the Monocacy Creek and Lehigh river to the Moravian Church.
This land would be home to what we call Bethlehem today. Originally founded by
David Nitschmann and Count Zinzendorf, Bethlehem was originally a missionary
community. Also settling just south of the land deeded by William Allen was a small
settlement of Huguenots who set up the historic Calvins Grist and Saw Mill.
As the Revolutionary War came Bethlehem saw a large increase of refugees that had
fled Philadelphia as Great Britain was marching on it. Even George Washington
himself made a stop here to store his personal effects behind Burnside Farms, which
today houses a museum and is registered on the National Register of Historic Places.
Bethlehem’s facilities stretched from coast-to-coast, with numerous steelmaking and
manufacturing plants, coal mines, quarries, ore mines, and shipbuilding and ship
repair yards supplying the nation’s needs.
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