Brochure lists state, local historical markers
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Dan Stevenson, president of Northern Lehigh Future Focus, and Marilyn Kaul, chairperson of the historic preservation and tourism task force of Northern Lehigh Future Focus, unveil the Northern Lehigh Historical Markers Program brochure during a news conference Tuesday at the Victory Park Historical Marker, in Victory Park, Slatington.
A snapshot of the Northern Lehigh area at a glance.
That's exactly what those who come in contact with a brochure to cap the Northern Lehigh Historical Markers Program can come to expect.
The pamphlet was displayed at a news conference conducted by Northern Lehigh Future Focus Tuesday at the Victory Park Historical Marker in Victory Park, Slatington.
Robert Stettner, a member of NLFF, said the multicolored, gatefold-style brochure lists all the state and local historical markers in the Northern Lehigh area, which encompasses the boroughs of Slatington and Walnutport, along with Washington Township.
Stettner said the 38 markers listed in the brochure offer a small account of the people, places and things that are historically significant to the region. The brochures also highlight the towns that comprise the area, as well as the local industries that helped it grow and thrive, he said.
The brochure was designed and produced by Communication Design students at Kutztown University as part of the 2011 Design-A-Thon, said Stettner. Design-A-Thon is a 24-hour design and production marathon session conducted by the Communication Design Department, where students volunteer to assist nonprofit clients with pro bono design work. Brochures, logos and posters and just some of the items the students design during the Design-A-Thon, Stettner said.
Funding for the project was provided equally by the three municipalities comprising the Northern Lehigh area, Slatington, Walnutport and Washington Township, who each provided $300 in funding, Stettner said.
Stettner said the program was derived from Slatington's designation as an National Register Historic District. The brochure was created to allow pedestrians to travel through all three Northern Lehigh municipalities and visit all 38 markers, he said.
Among the historical markers featured in the brochure are:
Slatington: The Richard Jones Local Marker; Warrior's Path Local Marker; First School Slate Factory State Marker; Kern Home Local Marker; Kern Barn Local Marker; Trucker's Mill State Marker; Berksey Rail Line Local Marker; Firemen's Drinking Fountain Local Marker; Northern Lehigh Firemen's Memorial Bell Local Marker; Robert McDowell Local Marker; Hose Co. #1/Borough Hall Local Marker; The Neff House Hotel Local Marker; Daniel Jones Local Marker; The Old Reservoir (Fish Pond); Remaley Settlers Local Marker; Victory Park Local Marker; Ed Kraus Local Marker; Slate Industry State Marker; and the Kern Settlers Local Marker.
Washington Township: Vigilant Fire Company Firemen Monument Local Marker; Friedens Local Marker; Slatedale Local Marker; Penn Big Bed Slate Company Local Marker; Lehigh Furnace Local Marker; Emerald Local Marker; Tunnel Quarry Local Marker; Chain Bridge Local Marker.
Walnutport: William Best Local Marker; William Kuntz Local Marker; Poughkeepsie Bridge Local Marker; Diamond Fire Company Local Marker; Walnutport Local Marker; Pennsylvania House/Slate Exchange Hotel Local Marker; Anchor Hotel Local Marker; Lehigh Canal Local Marker; Lehigh River Local Marker; Lock Tender's House Local Marker; and the Island Park Horse Race Track Local Marker.
Also included in the brochure are brief histories of Slatington, Walnutport and Slatedale, along with a simple map of the three towns.
Nicholas Kern founded Slatington in the late 1730s when he secured a land warrant to farm the fertile land along the Lehigh River. Then in the mid-19th century, slate was discovered, and Slatington was born.
The emergence of railroading in 1856 further nurtured the settlement, and the borough was incorporated in 1864. A walk through Slatington and along Trout Creek provides a hint to the rest of Slatington's story.
Simple homes, located next to extravagant Victorians, demonstrate how quickly the slate industry swept through the area and transformed agricultural Kernsville into industrial Slatington.
Slatedale, in Washington Township, was originally named Labarville for George and Nelson Labar. It is the largest village in the township, which surrounds Slatington, and also includes the smaller villages of Emerald, Friedens, and other small clusters of homes.
The Labars opened and began operating the area's first slate quarry in 1848. The Locke Slate Company later purchased this quarry.
With the explosion of the slate industry, Slatedale expanded rapidly in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The village was fully equipped with business to fulfill the residents' needs from cradle to grave.
However, with dwindling demand for slate, Slatedale's business district shrank over the last 100 years.
Walnutport developed as a stop on the Lehigh Canal. Named in 1830 for the many tall walnut trees that flourished here, this village incorporated as a village in 1909.
Many people visit Walnutport for its 4 1/2 miles of scenic trails adjacent to watered sections of the Lehigh Canal. The canal, together with the town's many historic buildings, tells Walnutport's story. Closely tied to the river and canal, Walnutport's economy was driven by the area's zinc, coal, and slate industries.
Traffic on the Lehigh Canal gave way to the railroads, and later, to automotive traffic. The growing popularity of cars caused State Route 145 to be diverted, forever changing the face of Walnutport.
Additionally, historically themed wayside signs can also be found along the Lehigh Canal Towpath in Walnutport and on the Slate Heritage Trail in Slatington.
For more information on the brochures, contact (610) 760-0685; Northern Lehigh Future Focus, P.O. Box 243 Slatington, PA 18080; or futurefocusofnorthernlehigh.tripod.com.