The largest of three Lehigh Valley cities,
sits 60 miles north of
and 90 miles west of
. It was founded in 1762 by
, a former mayor of Philadelphia. The city is known for its award-winning parks system, The Allentown Band – the oldest civilian concert band in the country – and for hiding the
from the British from 1777 to 1778 underneath a church. Allentown is home to fun-filled
, AAA affiliate of the
; and the
of the Arts which takes place over
weekend every May.
A LITTLE HISTORY
Allentown was originally named Northamptontown by its founder, chief justice of Colonial
's supreme court, William Allen. From the beginning, nearly everyone called it "Allen's town." Despite its location along the Lehigh River, Northamptown did not turn into a commercial center because for most of the year river trade was impractical as result of the low water level.
In the 1850s and 1860s, the rise of a strong local iron industry and influx of German and Irish workers created a mini-Pittsburgh along the banks of the Lehigh. But the heyday didn't last long. In the early 20
century, silk mills had taken over from the dying iron trade and a diversifying economy produced everything from parlor furniture to beer and cigars.
, there has been a rise of the service economy. City officials are trying to attract business to downtown, primarily as a way to find new uses for existing structures. The city's infrastructure offers state-of-the-art technology, including a fiber optic loop and uninterrupted electrical service, which plays a role in attracting businesses.
, whose first book was "The Devil Wears
" is a graduate of Parkland High School.
, a 2003 graduate from William Allen High school, debuted in the 2004 film "Mean Girls" and has played in "Nine Lives," "Alpha Dog," "
, also a graduate of William Allen High School, joined the cast of the television show "Gimmie a Break!" at age 14. Lara later appeared on "The Amanda Show,"