Lehigh Valley

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Lehigh Valley, PA–NJ MSA
PA–NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area
Eastern Pennsylvania
Metropolitan Statistical Area
Allentown.jpg 149px
Pburg-281.jpg Easton Skyline.jpg
Clockwise from top left, Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, and Phillipsburg
Map of the Lehigh Valley
Map of the Lehigh Valley
Country United States
States Pennsylvania
 - New Jersey
Largest city Allentown
Other cities
Rank 64th
 • Total 42 sq mi (110 km2)
Elevation[1] 2,180 ft (660 m)
Population (2010 Census)
 • Total 821,623 (2,010 Census)[2]
Time zone ET (UTC−5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)

The Lehigh Valley (/ˈli.h ˈvæ.li/), known officially by the United States Census Bureau and the United States Office of Management and Budget[3] as the Allentown–Bethlehem–Easton, PA–NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area and referred to colloquially as The Valley,[4] is a metropolitan region officially consisting of Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties in eastern Pennsylvania and Warren county on the western edge of New Jersey, in the Eastern United States.[5] The Lehigh Valley's largest city, with a population of 120,443, is Allentown.[6]

The Lehigh Valley is the fastest growing and third most populous region in the state of Pennsylvania with a population of 821,623 residents as of the 2010 U.S. Census.[2][7] It is eclipsed in total population in Pennsylvania only by the metropolitan areas of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.[2] It is the 64th most populated metropolitan area in the United States. Lehigh County, the Valley's largest county in terms of overall population, is among the fastest growing in the nation and, as of 2010-2012, ranks in the 79th percentile for population growth nationally.[7] The core population centers are located in southern and central Lehigh and Northampton counties along U.S. Route 22 and Interstate 78. The Lehigh Valley is proximate to two of the nation's largest cities: New York City, which is about 75 miles to its east, and Philadelphia, which is 50 miles to its southeast.

In March 2014, the Lehigh Valley was recognized by Site Selection Magazine as the second-best performing region of its size for economic development in the United States.[8] It was also ranked by Fortune in May 2015 as being among the top 10 best places in the U.S. to locate corporate finance and information technology operations for companies, such as call centers and IT support.[9] Allentown, the region's largest city, was cited as a "national success story" in April 2016 by the Urban Land Institute for its downtown redevelopment and transformation, one of only six communities nationwide to achieve this distinction.[10]

Historical region

The Lehigh Valley is named for the Lehigh River, which runs through it, and owes much of its development and history to the anthracite supplies, timber, and ores which poured down the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company's (LC&N) Lehigh Canal and railroads LC&N built or encouraged parallel to it. The lower Lehigh Valley is geologically part of the Great Appalachian Valley and is bordered on the north by the mineral-rich Ridge and Valley Appalachians, which define its rugged upper parts from White Haven and west of the Poconos, south through the Lehigh Gorge to the Lehigh Gap near Palmerton. The upper drainage basin contains or shares[lower-alpha 1] nearly half the southeastern Coal Region, which have the richest anthracite deposits in the world, while the lower valley holds valuable limestone, sandstone, and clay deposits. In the charter of March 20, 1818 for the Lehigh Navigation Company, the legislature gave virtual total control to the Canal Company[lower-alpha 2] which it retained until 1964. These transportation improvements overcame the country's first energy crises due to deforestation in the early 19th century. The Canal operated into the Great Depression, feeding ports up and down the Delaware River, the Delaware Canal, and transoceanic demand, and was integral to the regional industrial revolution in the greater Philadelphia-Trenton-Wilmington region. The Morris Canal and the 22–23 miles (35–37 km) coal feeder of the Delaware and Raritan Canal and locks at New Hope on the Delaware Canal were built to fuel the anthracite needs of Newark, Trenton, Jersey City and New York City.

Consequently, culturally and historically, the Valley runs from the drainage divide in the Solomon Gap just north of Mountain Top where coal flowed up the Ashley Planes from the Wyoming Valley coal beds in Luzerne County and across the divide, then downhill to the White Haven, then down through the Lehigh Gorge, past the historic Jim Thorpe terminus of the Summit Hill & Mauch Chunk Railroad (SH&MC)[lower-alpha 3] through historic locks and dams below Jim Thorpe or alongside the canal which fueled the American Industrial Revolution and operated into the Great Depression. The American Canal age had its epicenter at the confluence of the Lehigh and Delaware rivers where five major canals[12] met major rivers and coastal waterways, and all gave the people and industries of the Lehigh Valley access to minerals and markets via Easton from Connecticut, New York, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Cities and location

The Lehigh Valley's principal cities are Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, making up the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton metropolitan area. The traditional bounds of the region are The Poconos to the north, the Delaware River to the east, the boundaries of Berks County and Montgomery County to the southwest, and the boundary with Bucks County to the south. More recently, however, the area around Phillipsburg, New Jersey west of Pohatcong Mountain, parts of upper Bucks County around Quakertown, and portions of northeastern Berks County and southern Carbon and Schuylkill counties in Pennsylvania are considered outer parts of the Valley.

The Lehigh Valley is located approximately 60 mi (97 km) north of Philadelphia, 80 mi (130 km) northeast of Harrisburg, and 90 mi (140 km) west of New York City, the country's largest city. The area is home to more than 820,000 people as of the 2010 U.S. Census. Recent census studies show it to be the fastest growing region in Pennsylvania, due in part to its growing popularity as a bedroom community for the highly populated neighboring regions of Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City as well as its favorable business climate and much lower cost of living in comparison to surrounding areas.[13]

The Lehigh Valley is geologically and geographically part of the Great Appalachian Valley, a region largely made up of limestone that stretches along the eastern edge of the Appalachian Mountains. The Lehigh Valley is so named because it is composed of an actual valley that lies between two mountain ranges, Blue Mountain to the north and South Mountain to the south. Lehigh Valley also is considered part of the historic Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

Municipalities with more than 10,000 people

Municipalities with fewer than 10,000 people

Census-designated places and villages

Metropolitan and Combined Statistical Areas

The United States Office of Management and Budget has designated the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania as the Allentown–Bethlehem–Easton, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area.[3] The three counties in the Metropolitan area are Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton. As of the 2010 United States Census the Metro area had a population of 821,173. The Lehigh Valley ranks as the third most populous metropolitan areas in the state of Pennsylvania and ranks 68th most populous in the United States.

The United States Office of Management and Budget also has designated the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania as part of the larger New York metropolitan area.[3] The larger combined area consists of the Lehigh Valley counties of Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton as well as Pike County and the Monroe County/East Stroudsburg, PA Metropolitan Statistical Areas in Pennsylvania, and several other Metro areas from the States of New Jersey and New York. As of the 2010 US Census, the population of the CSA was 23,076,664, making it the most populous Combined Statistical Area in the United States.


The Lehigh Valley has four distinct seasons, which typically include humid summers, cold winters, and very short and mild springs and falls.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1980 551,022
1990 595,081 8.0%
2000 740,395 24.4%
2010 821,623 11.0%

At the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Lehigh Valley had a population of 808,210.[16] 87.1% of the population were White American, 4.6% were Black or African American, 0.1% were American Indian, 2.3% were Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Americans made up 0.1%, 4.3% were of some other race, and 1.5% belonged to two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 11.3% of the population.

The Lehigh Valley has seen an influx of residents coming from New Jersey and New York to take advantage of the reduced cost of living. The population of the area is expected to increase by 227,000 people by 2040.[17]


The most common industries for residents in are area include educational services, construction and health care as of 2009.[18] The Lehigh Valley was recognized by business publication Site Selection Magazine in March 2014 as being the second-best performing region of its size for economic development in the entire United States.[8]


Bethlehem Steel, located along the Lehigh River and founded in 1857, was once the second-largest manufacturer of steel in the United States; its former location has been transformed into the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem and the Steelstacks performing arts campus

The Lehigh Valley is known historically for its production of steel, Portland cement and apparel. It had served as a major U.S. center of industrial manufacturing since the 1800s but this role had diminished significantly in the late 20th century and early 21st century as companies moved to offshore locations for these activities.

Once a formidable industrial and manufacturing powerhouse serving the entire United States, the nationwide decline of this industry in the late 20th century and early 2000s led the Lehigh Valley to shift its economic focus more towards financial services, health care, life sciences and technology as well as becoming a distribution hub for some of the largest U.S. markets due to its comparatively low cost of living and proximity to some of the nation's largest metropolitan areas.[19]

However, a recent movement to reestablish manufacturing activities in the United States driven by customer demand for American made products, faster product delivery, increased overseas wages, and inflated costs of shipping has led to a sizeable increase in the local manufacturing base and rapidly growing interest in the region. Few other areas in the country are able to offer such comparatively low costs of living and doing business, including low energy costs, tax incentives and overnight distribution access to more than one-third the total population of the United States. Several large manufacturing companies from countries such as China and Germany have already invested tens of millions of dollars into establishing significant operations in the Lehigh Valley with the potential to create thousands of new local jobs in this sector.[20]

Largest employers

As of the 2nd quarter of 2016, the Lehigh Valley's top five employers are: 1.) Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network, 2.) St. Luke's Hospital and Health Network, 3.) Amazon.com DEDC LLC, 4.) Air Products & Chemicals, 5.) Lehigh Valley Physician Group.[21]

Business and economic environment

The Lehigh Valley is centrally located in the Northeast Megalopolis with ease of access and close proximity to several of the largest markets, population centers, airports, terminals, railways and seaports in the United States including both the New York City and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. The Lehigh Valley is also situated within a one-day drive to more than one third of the total population of the United States and more than one half of the total population of Canada.[22][23]

The Lehigh Valley has a lower cost of living, more affordable real estate, lower taxes and a more affordable labor pool than most other Northeastern US regions.[18] These attributes and others, such as sizable investments in business development and a friendlier regulatory environment, provide the area with an attractive business climate in comparison to surrounding states and areas.[13][23][24][25][26]

Due in large part to the aforementioned comparably favorable business climate, the Lehigh Valley has experienced success in luring large, established businesses as well as new startup companies from nearby states such as New York and New Jersey, bringing with them upwards of thousands of new jobs to the area.[13][27] Large companies such as Amazon.com have praised the region for its commitment to business investments and incentives, citing them as a major reason for continuing expansions and increased hiring in the Lehigh Valley.[28][29]

Further reaffirming this advantageous business and economic environment, the Lehigh Valley was recognized by business publication Site Selection Magazine in March 2014 as being the second-best performing region of its size for economic development in the United States.[8] It was also ranked by Fortune in May 2015 as being amongst the top 10 best places in the U.S. to locate corporate finance and information technology operations for companies, such as call centers and IT support.[9]

Large national and international companies based in the Lehigh Valley include LSI Corporation (in Allentown), Avantor Performance Materials (Center Valley), Air Products & Chemicals (in Trexlertown), Bethlehem Steel (which ceased operations in 2003, in Bethlehem), Crayola LLC (in Easton), Buckeye Partners (in Emmaus), Heidelberg Cement (in Fogelsville), Just Born (in Bethlehem), Lutron Electronics (in Coopersburg), Mack Trucks (in Allentown), Olympus Corporation USA (in Center Valley), OraSure Technologies (in Behlehem), PPL Corporation (in Allentown), Rodale Press (in Emmaus), Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, Dun & Bradstreet (in Center Valley), Synchronoss Technologies (Bethlehem), Victaulic (in Easton), and many others.

The Norfolk Southern Railway (owned by the Norfolk Southern Corporation), is the Lehigh Valley's major rail operator. Norfolk Southern Railway uses the former Lehigh Valley Railroad's main line, the Lehigh Line and also uses a former Reading Company (Reading Railroad) branch line, the Reading Line. Norfolk Southern Railway has major classification rail yards in Allentown and Bethlehem.

The Lehigh Valley is also one of the largest areas on the East Coast for the location of warehouses and distribution centers. Because of this, it is sometimes referred to as the nation's "second Inland Empire" for freight[30]. Companies that own and operate warehouses and distribution centers in the Lehigh Valley include Amazon.com, B. Braun, Boston Beer Company (brewer of Samuel Adams brand beer), BMW, Bridgestone, FedEx SmartPost, Home Depot, J. C. Penney, Nestlé Purina, ShopRite, Stitch Fix, The Coca-Cola Company, True Value, Uline, Zulily, and many others. Most of these distribution centers are located along the U.S. Route 22, Interstate 78 and Interstate 476 corridors.

FedEx Ground has chosen to construct their largest shipping terminal in the country in the Lehigh Valley near the international airport. This new terminal, upon completion, will process up to 75,000 packages per hour and employ hundreds of people. It is anticipated to open in late 2018 at a cost of over $335 million to build.[31]

The Boston Beer Company operates its largest production brewery facility in the Lehigh Valley (in Breinigsville), which produces more than 2/3rds of all Samuel Adams beer in the world. The company continues to upgrade and expand operations at this facility and has cited the location as central to the company's success.[32]

Ocean Spray, maker of juice drinks and other fruit products, produces 40 percent of its total national beverage volume at its plant in Breinigsville.[33]

Due to Pennsylvania's lack of an excise tax on cigars, the Lehigh Valley is also home to some of the United States' largest cigar distributors and retailers.[34]

Renewable energy

Pennsylvania is ranked 19th in the nation in the production of renewable, notably solar, energy.[35] The Lehigh Valley boasts one of the largest solar panel installations in Pennsylvania and is a leading producer of solar and other renewable energy in the region. As an example, Air Products & Chemicals, in Trexlertown, installed and maintains a 15-acre solar farm which generates more than half the required electricity for their corporate headquarters, saving an estimated $250,000 per year in utility costs. The comparatively large solar industry in the Lehigh Valley is due mostly to a combination of federal, state and local incentive programs which make using renewable energy sources more cost effective than in years past.[35]

Retail shopping

The Lehigh Valley is home to many retail establishments. The largest retail area of the Lehigh Valley is the Pennsylvania Route 145/MacArthur Road Corridor, just north of Allentown. It is anchored by the Lehigh Valley Mall and the Whitehall Mall.

Other malls in the region include Palmer Park Mall (in Easton), Phillipsburg Mall (in Phillipsburg, New Jersey), South Mall (in Allentown), and the Westgate Mall (in Bethlehem). In October 2006, a new Valley-based shopping mall, The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, was opened. Located off Route 309 in Upper Saucon Township, The Promenade is roughly half the size of the Lehigh Valley Mall, but features more upscale stores. In 2011, The Outlets at Sands Bethlehem opened at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, becoming the first outlet mall in the Lehigh Valley.[36]

Yocco's Hot Dogs, the regionally-famous fast food establishment known for their hot dogs and cheesesteaks, maintains six locations, all of which are based in the Lehigh Valley. Its original restaurant, founded in 1922, is still located at its original center city Allentown location, on West Liberty Street. Five additional Yocco's locations can be found in the Lehigh Valley (in west-side Allentown, east-side Allentown, Emmaus, Fogelsville, and Wescosville).



The Lehigh Valley is part of the Philadelphia television market, and also receives television stations from New York City and Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Lehigh Valley-based stations include WBPH-TV, an affiliate of FamilyNet, a Christian network licensed to Bethlehem, with studios in Allentown; WFMZ-TV, an independent commercial television station atop South Mountain in Allentown; and WLVT-TV, a PBS station licensed to Allentown with studios in Bethlehem.


The Lehigh Valley is home to over 35 radio stations, spanning multiple formats, including news, talk, and sports, CHR/pop music, country music, National Public Radio, sports radio, oldies, polka, hot adult contemporary, soft rock, classic rock, hard rock, and a variety of college radio stations.

Print media

Lehigh Valley-based daily newspapers include the Allentown The Morning Call and the Easton The Express-Times, both with rich traditions dating back to the mid-1800s. The Lehigh Valley also features Lehigh Valley and Pocono Sports Extra (a monthly all sports publication), Lehigh Valley Style (a regional lifestyle publication), Lehigh Valley Magazine (the region's oldest lifestyle publication), Lehigh Valley Exposed (an alternative news and entertainment weekly), and four Spanish language newspapers, Al Dia, El Hispano, El Torero, and La Cronica. Lehigh Valley community publications include The Blue Mountain Town & Country Gazette in the northern part of the Valley.


Alumni Memorial Building at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, 2005

Colleges and universities

The Lehigh Valley is a center of post-secondary education, with several four-year colleges and universities. These include:

The Lehigh Valley is also home to three two-year colleges:

High school education

As the third most populous metropolitan region in Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Valley is served by numerous school districts, public and private high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools.

Lehigh Valley-based high schools include:

The largest Lehigh Valley high schools (12 in all) compete athletically in the East Penn Conference. Smaller Lehigh Valley high schools compete in the Colonial League. In addition to its exceptional high school athletic teams, the Lehigh Valley is known nationally for its excellent math team, the Lehigh Valley Fire. The team won the ARML competition in 2005, 2009, 2010, and 2011. They have placed in the top 10 teams nationally every year since 2009.[37]


Club League Sport Venue Established Championships
Lehigh Valley IronPigs IL Baseball Coca-Cola Park 2008 0
Lehigh Valley Phantoms AHL Ice hockey PPL Center 1996 2
Bethlehem Steel FC USL Soccer Goodman Stadium 2015 0
Lehigh Valley Steelhawks IFL Indoor football PPL Center 2011 0
FC Sonic Lehigh Valley NPSL Soccer Ulrich Sports Complex 2009 1 (2012)
Lehigh Valley Rollergirls WFTDA Roller Derby Hamburg Field House 2006 0

American football

From 1996 until 2012, the Lehigh Valley was the home of pre-season training camp for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, which was held each summer on the practice fields of Lehigh University in Bethlehem.

The Lehigh Valley Storm, a semi-professional football team, is based in Bethlehem. The Lehigh Valley also is home to the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, a Professional Indoor Football League team, which began playing their home games at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem in 2011.


In early 2008, Coca-Cola Park, an 8,100-seat Minor League baseball stadium, opened in east-side Allentown.[38] The stadium hosts the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Philadelphia Phillies' AAA-level International League franchise. The team previously played as the Ottawa Lynx (1993–2007).[39] The club's move to the Lehigh Valley brought the franchise closer to Philadelphia and the Phillies' large eastern Pennsylvania fan base. The team's name is a reference to pig iron, a key ingredient in the steel-making process for which the Lehigh Valley area is known worldwide.

Groundbreaking ceremonies for Coca-Cola Park were held September 6, 2006, and construction was completed in December 2007. The stadium hosted its first game on March 30, 2008, when the Phillies major league team faced the IronPigs.

Ice hockey

In March 2011, plans were announced for the creation of PPL Center, an 8,500-seat arena to be built in Allentown as the home for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers. The Phantoms began play in Allentown starting with the 2014–15 season. The arena is located in downtown Allentown taking up the entire block between 7th and 8th Streets and Hamilton Boulevard and Linden Street. In a controversial decision, the city had declared eminent domain to help obtain the necessary properties and a contractor was chosen in 2012. Buildings on the site began to be demolished to make room for the new arena in January 2012.[40]

"The Rivalry"

The scoreboard following the conclusion of "The Rivalry" in 2006, featuring Lehigh and Lafayette. Played continuously since 1884, it is the longest-standing collegiate football rivalry in the nation with 151 consecutive games.

The Lehigh Valley is also home to a strong collegiate football rivalry, between two local colleges: Easton's Lafayette College and Bethlehem's Lehigh University. The two teams have played each other 150 times since 1884, making it the longest uninterrupted rivalry in college football.[41]

High school athletics

The 12 largest high schools in the Lehigh Valley compete athletically in the Lehigh Valley Conference. The conference has produced numerous professional and Olympic-level athletes, and its football, basketball and wrestling teams are often ranked among the best in the nation. In USA Today's annual ranking of the nation's top high school sports teams, Liberty High School was ranked second in the Eastern United States in football in 2008 and 20th among all high schools nationally. Parkland High School was ranked fifth in the East in football in 2002 and 11th among all high schools nationally. And Allentown Central Catholic High School was ranked seventh in girls' basketball in the East in both 2001–02 and 2002–03.[42]

Multiple Lehigh Valley Conference athletes have gone of to professional careers in Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the National Football League.

An additional 14 Lehigh Valley high schools too small to compete in the Lehigh Valley Conference compete in the Colonial League.


Parkettes National Gymnastics Training Center, which has been the training ground for numerous Olympians and U.S. national gymnastics champions, is based in Allentown. In 2003, CNN aired a documentary on Parkettes, Achieving the Perfect 10, which depicted it as a hugely demanding and competitive training program.

Roller Derby

Lehigh Valley Rollergirls (LVRG) is a women's flat track roller derby league based in the Lehigh Valley. Founded in January 2006, Lehigh Valley Rollergirls was the first skater-operated flat track roller derby league in the Lehigh Valley. LVRG is a member of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association and competes against national and international teams. It hosts its home matches at Hamburg Field House in Hamburg.

Running events

The Lehigh Valley hosts the Lehigh Valley 15K Road Race annually in September. It is one of the premiere eastern Pennsylvania running events.

The Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon, which features a certified marathon, a five-person team relay, a 20-mile (32 km) training run and 5K walk is also held annually in September. The 42.195-kilometre (26.219 mi) course follows the Lehigh River Canal Towpath from Allentown to Easton. The marathon came under scrutiny in 2015 when Mike Rossi achieved viral fame after allegedly cheating in the marathon to qualify for the Boston Marathon. In response, Via Marathon organizers added timing mats and video surveillance on-course.[43]

Runner's World magazine, which is based out of Emmaus, has held the Runner's World Half Marathon and Festival in Bethlehem every October since 2012.

The Lehigh Valley also plays host to one of the largest cross country events in the nation. Lehigh University's Paul Short Run is held annually at the Goodman Cross Country Course and participation has climbed to over 5,000 runners spread throughout 14 college and high school races. The Emmaus 5K race is held annually in mid-October, coinciding with Emmaus' annual Halloween parade.[44]


The Allentown Art Museum, based in center city Allentown, is the Lehigh Valley's largest museum. The museum's collection includes more than 11,000 works of art. Lehigh University's Zoellner Arts Center and Lafayette College's smaller Williams Center for the Arts host a wide variety of plays, concerts and performances throughout the year.

Bethlehem is also home to ArtsQuest, a non-profit that promotes Visual and Performing Arts in the Lehigh Valley. The ArtsQuest center and Steelstacks campus on the site of the former Bethlehem Steel Company have several performing arts venues including the Levitt Pavilion and the Musikfest Cafe. The Banana Factory in Southside Bethlehem has several art studios and galleries open to the public.

Artsquest also hosts Musikfest every year in August. Musikfest is the largest free music festival in the country, bringing more than 1 million people to the region annually.


File:Dorney Park Steel Force Thunderhawk.jpg
Dorney Park's Steel Force and Thunderhawk roller coasters, in South Whitehall Township in the Lehigh Valley. Steel Force opened in 1997 as the tallest and fastest roller coaster on the East Coast of the United States, with a first drop of 205 feet (62 m) and a top speed of 75 miles per hour (121 km/h).[45]

The Lehigh Valley is home to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, a popular amusement and water park. Located in South Whitehall Township, Dorney Park is known nationally for its elaborate roller coasters and water rides.

The region's ski resorts are Bear Creek Ski and Recreation Area and Blue Mountain Ski Area. Bear Creek is a 21 slope resort located outside of Macungie, Pennsylvania. Blue Mountain is located near Danielsville, Pennsylvania. The Poconos, which feature some of the East Coast's best-known ski resorts, is approximately 30 miles (48 km) north of the Lehigh Valley. Several large lakes used for boating and fishing also are located there. Pocono Raceway in the Poconos holds two NASCAR race weekends a year along with an IndyCar race. The region also hosts some of the best hiking in eastern Pennsylvania, including 30 miles of trails at the Trexler Nature Preserve.

Dutch Springs, the nation's largest SCUBA amusement park, is in Bethlehem and Lower Nazareth Township. Over 40,000 divers annually utilize the facilities, which have sunken "treasures" to enhance the underwater experience. In addition to scuba diving, kayaking and paddle boats are available. The facility has a water park, camping grounds, and picnic areas.

In 2009, Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, an $879 million casino, hotel and apartment complex owned by the Las Vegas Sands, opened in Bethlehem, bringing legalized gambling to the Lehigh Valley for the first time. It is one of only 13 authorized gaming sites in Pennsylvania.

Many large festivals are held each year in the Lehigh Valley. Musikfest, a large, 10-day music festival, is held in Bethlehem each August. Mayfair Festival of the Arts, a visual and performing arts festival, is held in the Allentown Fairgrounds each May. In September, one of the largest Celtic heritage festivals in America, The Celtic Classic, is held in Bethlehem. The Great Allentown Fair has been held on the grounds of the Allentown Fairgrounds in Allentown annually in late August through early September for more than 150 years. Das Awkscht Fescht is an antique car festival that is held annually the beginning of August in Macungie's Memorial Park.

Ice skating (including ice hockey, figure skating and speed skating) is popular in the Lehigh Valley and the region has three facilities. The Steel Ice Center is the premier ice skating facility, in Bethlehem on East 1st Street, not far from the Sands Casino. The Rink, formerly Lehigh Valley Ice Arena, is in Whitehall (north of Allentown) just off MacArthur Road (Route 145) on 7th Street. Each facility has two ice surfaces and public skate times are available at both facilities. The City of Bethlehem also opens a covered outdoor rink (one ice surface) annually from November through March.

The Bethlehem Skateplaza is a city park for skateboarding and freestyle BMX riding located at 1325 Steel Avenue, in Bethlehem.


Air transportation

Main terminal at Lehigh Valley International Airport

The Lehigh Valley is served by air transportation through Lehigh Valley International Airport (IATA: ABEICAO: KABE), in the Lehigh Valley's Hanover Township, three miles (5 km) northeast of Allentown.

The number of people using the airport fell by 24.3% from 723,556 in 2012 to 582,000 in 2014[46] and the airport had seen declines in passenger usage from the early 2000s when annual traffic twice hit levels above 1,000,000 passengers. It has, however, lately experienced a steady rebound in passenger traffic due to being a preferable alternative to the highly congested airports in Philadelphia and Newark, new improvements to its facilities and amenities, a fast growing regional population, and the addition of new routes. In 2016 it serviced 688,505 passengers, an increase of 2.2% from 2015.[47][48][49]

Amazon.com leverages the Lehigh Valley International Airport (LVIA) as one of only 11 locations in the country for their Prime Air shipping service. LVIA was one of the first airports selected for the pilot concept of the program due to its close proximity to large population centers, cost effectiveness, robust infrastructure, and comparative ease of use. This location now ships more merchandise, has more flights, and serves more people (over 75 million from Boston to Washington, D.C. as of late 2016) for Amazon than any other facility in the country. Both Amazon and LVIA continue to invest heavily in the local area to better support the ever-increasing demand for air cargo driven in large part by the explosion of e-commerce and the need for faster, more efficient delivery of merchandise.[50]

Due to the same aforementioned reasons for Amazon increasing its operations at the airport, FedEx Ground has selected an area near LVIA to construct its largest terminal in the country.[31] As of 2016, the airport ships more than 126 million pounds of cargo annually with growth of nearly 166% in cargo tonnage shipped between 2015 and 2016 alone. Companies such as Amazon.com and FedEx Ground are increasingly using the airport for these purposes which is a major factor in its growth.[51]

The Valley is also served by Allentown Queen City Municipal Airport, a two-runway general aviation facility located off Allentown's Lehigh Street. Queen City is used predominantly by private aviation. The airport was awarded General Aviation Airport of the year by the Eastern Region of the Federal Aviation Administration in 2006.[52]

Bus transportation

LANTA bus in Easton

Public bus service in Lehigh Valley is available through the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority, known as LANTA. In New Jersey, bus service is provided by New Jersey Transit.

Several private bus lines, including Bieber Transportation Group, Fullington Trailways and Trans-Bridge Lines, provide bus service from various Valley locations to New York City's Port Authority Bus Terminal, Philadelphia's Greyhound Terminal, Atlantic City's Bus Terminal, and other regional locations.


Passenger service to the Lehigh Valley ceased in 1981 when several rail operators opted to curtail long-distance services. From the south, SEPTA Regional Rail limited their services to their electrified-only territory with trains going only as far north as Lansdale and Doylestown, Pennsylvania. (In the early and mid twentieth century golden age of passenger rail, the Reading Railroad provided rail service south and west of the area.[53][54]) To the east, the Central Railroad of New Jersey ceased passenger operations into the area, from Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1967 in conjunction with the Aldene Connection.

The Lehigh Valley Railroad, primarily using its main line, served the areas with freight transporting along with the Lehigh & Hudson River Railway and the Lehigh & New England Railroad. In 1974, passenger service was restored to Phillipsburg under state (New Jersey) subsidy. That service was terminated in 1984. All of the original railroads ultimately went bankrupt and were taken over by today's railroads. SEPTA removed the tracks approaching Allentown and Bethlehem from the south. The nearest rail station for travel south towards Philadelphia is in Lansdale, Pennsylvania on SEPTA's Lansdale/Doylestown Line. The nearest station for travel eastward is High Bridge, New Jersey on New Jersey Transit Rail Operations's Raritan Valley Line.

Current operator New Jersey Transit has looked at restoring rail service to Phillipsburg, New Jersey, but there are no official plans to extend service over the border into Pennsylvania at present. Nor are there official plans to restore SEPTA service to Philadelphia. Freight operator Norfolk Southern Railway, heavily serves the region with a major classification yards in Allentown and Bethlehem using the former Lehigh Valley Railroad main line and the former Reading Company branch line, the Lehigh Line and the Reading Line. Canadian Pacific Railway, another freight operator, also transports through the Lehigh Valley using the Lehigh Line and the Reading Line.

In November 2008, the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), along with both Lehigh and Northampton Counties, commissioned a study to explore the merits of expanding New Jersey Transit rail to the Lehigh Valley, which would potentially include stops in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton.[55] The Lehigh Valley is currently the largest metropolitan area by population on the East Coast of the United States without passenger rail service of any kind.[56][57] If plan succeeds, the Lehigh Line will then once again host passenger services since 1961.


US 22 eastbound along Lehigh Valley Thruway at PA 145 interchange in Whitehall Township

The Lehigh Valley has four major highways: Interstate 78, a major east-west highway, runs through the southern part of the Valley, duplexed with Pennsylvania Route 309. I-78 runs from Lebanon County in the west, where Interstate 81 provides a connection to Harrisburg, to the Holland Tunnel and New York City in the east.

U.S. Route 22 is a major freeway that runs through the Valley from Kuhnsville in the western part of the Valley to Easton in the eastern part of the Valley. U.S. Route 22 starts in Cincinnati, Ohio in the west, running through the Valley to Newark, New Jersey in the east. A third highway, Pennsylvania Route 33, runs north-south through the Lehigh Valley, from the Poconos in the north to Northampton County in the south.

The fourth major highway in the Valley is Interstate 476, the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It stretches 131 miles (211 km) from Chester in the south to the ScrantonWilkes Barre area in the north.

Other major roads in the Valley include MacArthur Road (PA 145), a divided local road that leads to the Lehigh Valley Mall and its surrounding commercial district. Cedar Crest Boulevard, a north-south highway, runs from North Whitehall Township in the north through west-side Allentown to Emmaus in the south. Lehigh Street runs from northeast to southwest, originating in downtown Allentown and ending in Emmaus. Tilghman Street runs from Fogelsville in the west to continue as Union Boulevard into Bethlehem in the east. Tilghman Street runs through most of Allentown and also intersects with Cedar Crest Boulevard, Pennsylvania Route 100, Pennsylvania Route 309 and several other major Lehigh Valley highways.


The Lehigh Valley area was once served only by the 215 area code from 1947 (when the North American Numbering Plan of the Bell System went into effect) until 1994. With the region's growing population, however, Lehigh Valley areas were afforded area code 610 in 1994. Today, the Lehigh Valley is covered by 610. An overlay area code, 484, was added to the 610 service area in 1999.[58] A plan to introduce area code 835 as an additional overlay was rescinded in 2001.[59]


The Lehigh Valley AVA was designated an official American Viticultural Area in March, 2008. The wine region includes 230 acres (93 ha) of vineyards, planted to several Vitis vinifera and French-American hybrid grape varieties. Blue Mountain Vineyards in New Tripoli accounts of over 50 acres in the region and has won national and international awards. Fifteen to twenty percent of the wine produced commercially in Pennsylvania is made from grapes grown in the Lehigh Valley AVA.[60]

Notable people from the Lehigh Valley

The Lehigh Valley is the birthplace or home to a number of famous Americans, including:

See also

County statistics

Geographic area July 1, 2005 Census 2000 1990 Census 1980 Census 1970 Census
Allentown–Bethlehem–Easton, PA–NJ MSA 790,535 740,395 686,688 635,481 594,382
Carbon County, Pennsylvania 61,959 58,802 56,846 53,285 50,573
Lehigh County, Pennsylvania 330,433 312,090 291,130 272,349 255,304
Northampton County, Pennsylvania 287,767 267,066 247,105 225,418 214,368
Warren County, New Jersey 110,376 102,437 91,607 84,429 73,960
Allentown, Pennsylvania 105,231 106,632 105,301 103,758 109,871
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 68,114 71,329 71,428
Easton, Pennsylvania 26,263 26,276 26,234


  1. Technically, the Panther Creek Valley sandwiched between the coal bearing valleys of Broad Mountain/Nesquehoning Creek/Nesquehoning Ridge and Pisgah Ridge/Mauch Chunk Creek is part of the Schuylkill River watershed. However, culturally, highway and railroad connections influenced the LC&N Co. company towns east of Tamaqua and the Little Schuylkill River are strongly tied to the historic Mauch Chunk and the Canal operations of the LC&N Company.
  2. In the 1840s the LC&N established the railroad subsidiary Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad (LH&S) and had already backed quite a few others, or mining companies with company railroads. About 6 or more of these 'investment railways' were bought out and consolidated, including the Summit Hill and Mauch Chunk Railroad (SH&MC), into the LH&S which became an operating company. In the 1871, the founders having left, the new generation of LC&N management decided to lease the LH&S properties out to the Central Railroad of New Jersey, the CNJ or Jersey Central, which operated them into the 1960s. The CNJ sought and received permission to sell the historic SH&MC to a private operator, who continued to operate it as a tourist railway into the late 1930s. Today, the railroad routes built by the LC&N are still major regional transportation arteries,[11]
  3. Historians split hairs with weasel words over which railroads were first, second, third, etc. and why... which criteria is more important, such as a charter date, incorporation date, completion date, or operations began date. One option is which became 'common carriers', which limits the early choices to the B&O Railroad, the SH&MC, the Delaware and Hudson Gravity Railroad, the Mohawk and Hudson Rail Road, and the shortline Granite Railroad. The B&O can claim first regular commercial common carrier runs; the SH&MC not only being earlier in actual operation, but also the first to carry passengers (1827) and then paying passengers (1829), all as a subsidiary component to the LC&N. It later began carrying common cargoes and passengers to Summit Hill, at that point a company mining camp. While all three survived into the 1930s, none of the other chartered railroads operated before 1829, only the Granite Railroad of Quincy.
  4. Official records for Allentown were kept at Allentown Gas Company from March 1922 to December 1943, and at Lehigh Valley Int'l since January 1944. For more information, see ThreadEx.


  1. "Pennsylvania County High Points". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved January 1, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 https://www.census.gov/popest/data/metro/totals/2009/files/CBSA-EST2009-alldata.csv
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Office of Management and Budget". Retrieved October 30, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Guide to the Valley search results, filtered by Allentown". Retrieved October 30, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Metropolitan statistical areas and components". Retrieved December 19, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/allentowncitypennsylvania/PST045216
  7. 7.0 7.1 Lehigh County has state's fastest growth rate – Morning Call. Mcall.com (2013-03-15). Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Lehigh Valley takes No. 2 spot on national economic development list - LVB". Retrieved October 30, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 "10 best U.S. cities for your company's finance and IT operations".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Downtown Allentown called a national success story by Urban Land Institute - LVB". Retrieved October 30, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Virtually all the LH&S trackage is managed and operated by either the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad (RBM&N) or Norfolk-Southern Railway and generated rental income for LC&N Co. until the 1960s collapse of many Eastern railways before the CONRAIL consolidation in the 1970s.
  12. The Lehigh Canal, the Delaware Canal, the Delaware & Raritan Canal, the Delaware and Hudson Canal and the Morris Canal all permitted industrial transport by boat or barge with crossings of or travel along the wide placid Delaware River. The D&H system offered access to the upper Hudson, while two of the New Jersey canals joined Easton to New York Harbor. Coal fired foundries boot strapped the iron needed for railroads, and railroads accelerated movement of people, goods and raw materials.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Allentown: Chemical material producer Avantor moves headquarters from New Jersey to Center Valley Morning Call
  14. "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved February 4, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "WMO Climate Normals for ALLENTOWN/A.-BETHLEHEM, PA 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 28, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. American FactFinder, United States Census Bureau. "Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ Metro Area – ACS Demographic and Housing Estimates: 2008". Factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved March 23, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Kraus, Scott (July 14, 2012). "No end in sight to Valley's population growth". The Morning Call. Allentown, Pennsylvania. Retrieved February 13, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Lehigh County, Pennsylvania detailed profile - houses, real estate, cost of living, wages, work, agriculture, ancestries, and more". Retrieved October 30, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. [1] Archived July 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  20. "U.S.A.! U.S.A.! Competitive costs and consumer awareness spur more manufacturers to set up shop in America — and the Greater Lehigh Valley. - LVB". Retrieved October 30, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. [2]
  22. Call, The Morning. "Inside Amazon's Warehouse". Retrieved October 30, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. 23.0 23.1 Lehigh Valley job forecast good Morning Call (2012-11-26). Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  24. [3] Archived August 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  25. "State's business climate is an attractive one". Morning Call. August 21, 2008. Retrieved March 23, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Upper Macungie: Upper Macungue planners OK Ocean Spray plans Morning Call
  27. Lehigh Valley business: Region entices out-of-state companies' Morning Call
  28. Allentown: Amazon hiring hundreds to Lehigh Valley warehouse Morning Call
  29. Bethlehem LVIP jobs: Bethlehem warehouse at LVIP could bring 500 jobs Morning Call
  30. Assad, Matt. "Is the Lehigh Valley the next 'Inland Empire'?". themorningcall.com. Retrieved August 20, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. 31.0 31.1 Salamone, Matt Assad, Anthony. "Lehigh Valley FedEx Ground terminal to be company's largest in U.S., VP says". Lehigh Valley Business Cycle. Retrieved August 19, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. "Samuel Adams beer-maker Boston Beer continues to invest in Valley". Retrieved October 30, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. "Ocean Spray plant in Lehigh Valley has high-tech features that set it apart, officials say".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. "Pennsylvania snuffs tobacco taxes for second straight year – Morning Call". Articles.mcall.com. December 31, 1989. Retrieved March 23, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. 35.0 35.1 Pennsylvania Solar Solar Energy Industries Association
  36. Satullo, Sara K. (November 1, 2011). "Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem opens outlet mall this morning". The Express-Times. Easton, Pennsylvania. Retrieved November 4, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  37. "Finishing position of Lehigh Valley ARML team each year". Retrieved August 18, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  38. "Coca-Cola Park Info, IronPigs Baseball Official Website". Retrieved May 5, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  39. "Baseball Reference Bullpen: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons". Retrieved May 5, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  40. Allentown council authorizes use of eminent domain for hockey arena if needed. lehighvalleylive.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  41. "Lehigh-Lafayette Rivalry Dividing Families for 144 Years". The Daily Orange. November 13, 2007. Archived from the original on October 13, 2008. Retrieved March 23, 2011. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  42. "Super 25 prep football regional rankings". USA Today. December 22, 2008. Retrieved January 9, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  43. Satullo, Sara (September 13, 2016). "Could train controversy tarnish Via Marathon's draw?". Lehigh Valley Live. Retrieved April 27, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  44. Emmaus 5K
  45. "Rollercoaster Database: Steel Force (Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom)". Retrieved July 10, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  46. http://flylvia.com/trafficeReports.html?#content-right Archived January 24, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  47. "Cargo traffic soars, as more passengers choose LVIA, too". lehighvalleylive.com. Retrieved August 19, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  48. The Morning Call, No U.S. Customs station at LVIA, but bluer skies may be ahead., Matt Assad, October 21, 2014, http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-allentown-airport-passenger-traffic-20141021-story.html
  49. "LVIA adds $5.2M transportation hub for buses, taxis and rental cars | LVB". Lehigh Valley Business. Retrieved August 19, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  50. Assad, Matt. "Amazon has LVIA flying high". Lehigh Valley Business Cycle. Retrieved August 19, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  51. Kraus, Scott. "LVIA air traffic jumped in 2016, due mostly to cargo". Lehigh Valley Business Cycle. Retrieved August 19, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  52. "Queen City Airport Designated General Aviation Airport of the Year by the Federal Administration Eastern Region". Lehigh Valley International Airport. Archived from the original on June 12, 2007. Retrieved June 22, 2007. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  53. "Railroad ties: A Reading Railroad timeline". Readingeagle.com. Retrieved March 23, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  54. "Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PA) and the history of the railroads in the Delaware River Valley". Membrane.com. Retrieved March 23, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  55. "County eyes N.J. rail extension to area". The Morning Call. November 7, 2008. Retrieved March 23, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[permanent dead link]
  56. "How Well Does Amtrak Serve U.S. Cities?". Trainweb.org. Retrieved March 23, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  57. Table of United States Metropolitan Statistical Areas
  58. "NANP-Overlay of 610 (Pennsylvania) Numbering Plan Area (NPA) with 484 NPA" (PDF).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (359 KB)
  59. "PA 835 Implementation for 484/610 NPA Rescinded – 835 NPA Code Reclaimed" (PDF).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (20.8 KB)
  60. Lauer-Williams, Kathy (2008). "Lehigh Valley wineries earn recognition". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. April 17, 2008.

External links