Banners unveiled in Slatedale
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Cynthia Snyder, postmaster and local historian, unveils a sample of the new banners that will adorn Main Street in Slatedale during a news conference Tuesday.
A dozen banners in its namesake will soon dress up Washington Township's most populous village.
Northern Lehigh Future Focus held a news conference on Tuesday in front of the Salem United Methodist Church in Slatedale to unveil the banners.
The 12 30-inch by 48-inch double-sided banners depict a large Victorian House below a slate bank and derricks, and include writing that says "Slatedale A Historic Slate Quarrying Village, est. 1856."
Designed by former Kutztown University communication design student Sean Allison, the banners are based on Slatedale's slate industry and Victorian architecture.
The banners were funded through a grant from the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and a local Adopt a Banner Program held in the township. Additional monies were secured from the township and NLFF, which coordinated the project.
Robert Stettner, a member of NLFF, noted how the village was a "key player in the local slate industry."
"These banners will beautify the village of Slatedale," Stettner said. "This is a close-knit community that takes pride in how their homes look, and these banners will help add to it."
Stettner said the banners will be hung on light poles throughout the village.
Josh Friebolin, chairman of the Washington Township board of supervisors, said the township will maintain the banners, which will be displayed from spring through fall.
"They look great, and should make an already pretty village even prettier," Friebolin said. "I hope that you feel these banners will enhance the village of Slatedale."
Ellie Passman Hock, of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, presented a check in the amount of $1,000 to NLFF members.
"It's projects like these that we're so happy to fund," Hock said. "We hope this will help make Slatedale a destination for tourists and visitors to come."
Stettner then thanked all those who played a role in the banners project.
The first slate quarry in Slatedale, the Locke Quarry, was opened in 1848 by George and Nelson Larbar, Stettner said. Hard slate was found to be the best for roofing shingles, and, since Slatedale had an abundance of this hard type of slate, many slate quarries were opened and the village grew and prospered in the late 1800s and early 1900s, he said.
The Crescent Slate Company was known for the manufacture of the federal government roofing slate, Stettner said. The slate roof on Independence Hall in Philadelphia and many other government buildings comes from Slatedale, he said. An extension of the Lehigh Valley Railroad from Slatington to Slatedale opened in 1870, making it easier for the western slate quarries to ship their products to market, Stettner said.
Today, only the Penn Big Bed Slate Quarry remains in operation, he said. It still produces roofing slates, and a variety of other slate products such as blackboards, mantels, turkey calls and slate flooring.
The NLFF is a Slatington-based community visioning group that serves the Northern Lehigh area. In April, the group unveiled new Main Street banners that were hung on light poles on the new General Morgan Bridge in Slatington.
Funding for those bridge banners was made possible with a Street Amenities Grant from Lehigh County. Those banners were designed by local artist Patrick Bechtel of Slatington, and are based on old school slates.
The 16 24-inch by 18-inch double sided banners depict a school slate, as well as the writing on the "slate portion" with the words "Slatington established in 1864," the year of Slatington's inception. Also, the words "Blackboard capital of America" are included, which is a nod to Slatington's one time distinction of producing more school slates and blackboards at the height of the local slate industry than anywhere in the country.
Previous banners were erected along Main Street in 2004, in recognition of Slatington's National Register Historic District, and to welcome people to the borough.