Bethlehem is a city in Lehigh and Northampton counties in the Lehigh Valley region of the eastern portion of the U. S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 74,982, making it the seventh largest city in Pennsylvania, after Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Reading. Of this,55,639 were in Northampton County, and 19,343 were in Lehigh County, Bethlehem lies in the center of the Lehigh Valley, a region of 731 square miles that is home to more than 800,000 people. Smaller than Allentown but larger than Easton, Bethlehem is the Lehigh Valleys second most populous city, in turn, this metropolitan area comprises Pennsylvanias third-largest metropolitan area and the states largest and most populous contribution to the greater New York City metropolitan area. There are four sections of the city, central Bethlehem, the south side, the east side. Each of these sections blossomed at different times in the citys development, ZIP codes that use the address Bethlehem totaled 116,000 in population in the year 2000. These ZIP codes include Bethlehem Township and Hanover Township, the Norfolk Southern Railways Lehigh Line, runs through Bethlehem heading east to Easton, Pennsylvania and Phillipsburg, New Jersey across the Delaware River. The Norfolk Southern Railways Reading Line runs through Bethlehem heading west to Allentown, in July 2006, Money magazine placed Bethlehem as number 88 on its Top 100 Best Places to Live. The areas along the Delaware River and its tributaries in eastern Pennsylvania were long inhabited by peoples of various cultures. By the time of European contact, these areas were the historic territory of the Algonquian-speaking Lenape Nation and they traded with the Dutch and then English colonists in the mid-Atlantic area. They came to set up missionary communities among the Native Americans and they named the settlement after the Biblical town Bethlehem of Judea, the birthplace of Jesus. Count Zinzendorf said, Brothers, how more fittingly could we call our new home than to name it in honor of the spot where the event we now commemorate took place and we will call this place Bethlehem. And so was Bethlehem named after the birthplace of the Man of Peace, originally it was a typical Moravian Settlement Congregation, where the Church owned all the property. Until the 1850s, only members of the Moravian Church were permitted to land plots in Bethlehem. The historic Brethrens House, Sisters House, Widows House and Gemeinhaus with the Old Chapel are remnants of this period of communal living, the Moravians ministered to regional Lenape Native Americans through their mission in the area, as well as further east in the New York colony. In the historic Bethlehem Gods Acre cemetery, converted Lenape lie buried alongside the Moravians, in 1762, Bethlehem built the first water-works in America to pump water for public use. While George Washington and his troops stayed in Valley Forge, Washington stored his personal effects at the farm of James Burnside in Bethlehem – as of 1998 a historical museum, the prosperous village was incorporated into a free borough in the County of Northampton in 1845. After the Unity Synod of 1848, Bethlehem became the headquarters of the Northern Province of the Moravian Church in North America
Image: Bethlehem PA Photo Collage
The Colonial Industrial Quarter on the east bank of Monocacy Creek in Bethlehem.
The Blast furnaces of Bethlehem Steel seen in a panoramic view from the north bank of the Lehigh River. South Mountain is in the distance. (c. 1896).
The star of Bethlehem viewed from Main Street at night, in 2007. The Hotel Bethlehem is located on the right side of the street.