Allentown, Pennsylvania

From Academic Kids

Template:US City infobox Allentown is a city located in Lehigh County in eastern Pennsylvania, USA. After Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Allentown is Pennsylvania's third most populous city. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 106,632. It is the county seat of Lehigh County.

Allentown is the largest of three adjacent cities that comprise an area of Pennsylvania known as the Lehigh Valley, with the cities of Bethlehem and Easton surrounding. Lodged between two of the largest United States cities, Allentown is 50 miles (80 km) north of Philadelphia, the fourth largest city, and 90 miles (145 km) west of New York City, the largest city.

Allentown is the home of Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom, one of the world's most popular amusement parks, and Muhlenberg College. The city is served by Lehigh Valley International Airport.


Allentown history

Allentown was founded in 1762 by William Allen, who originally called it Northamptontown. In 1838, the town was named after him.

Allentown holds historical significance as the location where the Liberty Bell was hidden by the Continental Congress during a portion of the American Revolutionary War. As the British were attempting to seize Philadelphia in 1777, the Liberty Bell was moved north and hidden successfully by the colonies in the basement of a center city Allentown church.

Today, at Allentown's Old Zion Reformed Church, a shrine in the church's basement marks the exact spot where the Liberty Bell was hidden. It features a full-size official replica of the Liberty Bell flanked by the flags of the original thirteen colonies and is the only replica of its type.

Allentown in popular culture

The city also is known worldwide for a famous Billy Joel song, "Allentown," which appeared on Joel's "The Nylon Curtain" (1982) and "Greatest Hits: Volume II" (1985) albums. The song depicts the resolve of Allentownians, amidst the rough and hardened life that characterizes this East Coast, industrial city. "Allentown" also references nearby Bethlehem, home of the then-declining (and now defunct) Bethlehem Steel Corporation.

In "Allentown," representing the challenges associated with the demise of American industry for Allentownians, Joel sings: "They never taught us what was real. Iron and coke. And chromium steel. And we're waiting here in Allentown."

Allentown also features prominently in the famous Broadway musical 42nd Street. In the musical, up-and-coming chorus girl Peggy Sawyer hails from Allentown. As the plot unfolds, the talented singer and dancer considers leaving Broadway and returning to her hometown of Allentown, but is persuaded to stay by her director Julian Marsh. In an effort to convince Sawyer not to return to Allentown, Marsh sings to her some of the most famous lyrics in the history of Broadway: "Come on along and listen to the lullaby of Broadway...." Sawyer decides not to return to Allentown, and Marsh's production, starring Sawyer, goes on to become a roaring success.

Famous Allentownians

Allentown is the birthplace of a number of famous Americans, including:


Allentown is located at 40°36'6" North, 75°28'38" West (40.601697, -75.477328)Template:GR.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 46.5 km² (18.0 mi²). 45.9 km² (17.7 mi²) of it is land and 0.6 km² (0.2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.34% water.


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 106,632 people, 42,032 households, and 25,135 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,320.8/km² (6,011.5/mi²). There are 45,960 housing units at an average density of 1,000.3/km² (2,591.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 72.55% White, 7.85% African American, 0.33% Native American, 2.27% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 13.37% from other races, and 3.55% from two or more races. 24.44% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 42,032 households out of which 28.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.4% are married couples living together, 15.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 40.2% are non-families. 33.1% of all households are made up of individuals and 12.8% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.42 and the average family size is 3.09.

In the city the population is spread out with 24.8% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 19.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 87.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $32,016, and the median income for a family is $37,356. Males have a median income of $30,426 versus $23,882 for females. The per capita income for the city is $16,282. 18.5% of the population and 14.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 29.4% of those under the age of 18 and 10.3% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


Public Transit: Allentown has a small bus line known as the LANTA (Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority). However, most Allentownians rely solely on the car for transit purposes, and the city has a state-wide reputation for fast and reckless driving tendencies.

Roads: Allentown's road network does not run on any grid system, and it tends to be very confusing for out-of-town motorists. Roads frequently change name or direction without warning, or stop and continue elsewhere without additional information. The naming scheme in most areas of the city appears to be named street and numbered street one after another. However, this plan is not always consistent. Most roads in the city are two-lane highways, even though passing is usually prohibited on them. There are several major inbound roads to Allentown, including Airport Road, MacArthur Road, Lehigh Street, Tilghman Steet, Cedar Crest Boulevard, and Hamilton Boulevard/Hamilton Street.

Major highways: Four expressways run through the Allentown area: Interstate 78, Interstate 476/Pennsylvania Turnpike, PA State Route 309, and U.S. Highway 22. US 22 is an expressway throughout the entire city, running parallel to Interstate 78. The highway is co-signed with I-78 just west of the Interstate 476/PA Turnpike interchange. PA 309 is co-signed with I-78 east of Hamilton Boulevard and west of Emaus Avenue, and has small expressway spurts where the highway leads off of I-78. Both US 22 and PA 309 have cloverleaf interchanges, small or absent acceleration lanes, and generally poor signage.


Allentown is home to two major shopping malls. The largest, Lehigh Valley Mall, is located at US 22 & PA 145/MacArthur Road on the township border of Whitehall. The other, the Salisbury Township South Mall, is located at Lehigh Street, south of I-78/PA-309, on the township border of Emmaus.

External links


See also

Regions of Pennsylvania Flag of Pennsylvania
Coal Region | Lehigh Valley | Northern Tier | Northwest Region | Pennsylvania Dutch Country | Laurel Highlands | The Poconos | Susquehanna Valley
Largest cities
Allentown | Altoona | Bethel Park | Bethlehem | Chester | Erie | Harrisburg | Lancaster | Levittown | Mount Lebanon | New Cumberland | Norristown | Penn Hills | Philadelphia | Pittsburgh | Reading | Scranton | State College | Wilkes-Barre
Adams | Allegheny |Armstrong | Beaver | Bedford | Berks | Blair | Bradford | Bucks | Butler | Cambria | Cameron | Carbon | Centre | Chester | Clarion | Clearfield | Clinton | Columbia | Crawford | Cumberland | Dauphin | Delaware | Elk | Erie | Fayette | Forest | Franklin | Fulton | Greene | Huntingdon | Indiana | Jefferson | Juniata | Lackawanna | Lancaster | Lawrence | Lebanon | Lehigh | Luzerne | Lycoming | McKean | Mercer | Mifflin | Monroe | Montgomery | Montour | Northampton | Northumberland | Perry | Philadelphia | Pike | Potter | Schuylkill | Snyder | Somerset | Sullivan | Susquehanna | Tioga | Union | Venango | Warren | Washington | Wayne | Westmoreland | Wyoming | York

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