The city of Allentown is one of the large cities situated at the heart of the Lehigh Valley region, in the State of Pennsylvania. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, it currently sits on a total area of 18 square miles, of which 17.8 is land and 0.2 is water. The Jordan Creek and the tributary, Little Lehigh Creek, geographically fall inside the city’s boundaries. Both bodies of water empty into the Lehigh River. But aside from those two, Allentown also is home to other bodies of water like Lake Muhlenberg and a small pond located at Trexler Park.
As earlier mentioned, the city is found within the Lehigh Valley, technically a region (geographic description) bounded by Blue Mountains, Appalachian mountain range, and South Mountain. It is presently the county seat of the entire Lehigh County. The city’s neighbors are several other counties in Pennsylvania, namely Carbon County to the north, Bucks County in the southeast part, Montgomery County to the south, Berks and Schuylkill Counties in the west, and Northampton County to the east and northeast.
City Bounds and Neighborhoods
The residents in the city call it the Eight Street Bridge, but its official name is actually the Albertus L. Meyers Bridge; it was once known as the highest and longest concrete bridge in the world. Completed in 1913, it still stands today.
Allentown’s central business district is the Center City. It is where you see the downtown area as well as the 7th Street retail and residential areas. The same business district is home to several city, county, and federal government offices and centers. During the industrial boom in the late 19th century, there was a place in the eastern part of Center City which was called as “The Wards.” This was actually a residential area for those who were privileged to be part of the boom.
In the eastern part of the Lehigh River, you will see the East Side residential neighborhoods. The area predominantly borders the routes to a nearby city, Bethlehem. In the southern portion of Center City, you’ll see the city’s South Side neighborhoods. This is where another city, Emmaus, is bordered. Finally, the West End Allentown portion is primarily made up of neighborhoods west of 15th street.
Still in Center City in the heart of Allentown, you will see the tallest building, PPL Building. It is listed at 98 meters or 322 feet. Other known landmarks that visitors and tourists flock are the Allentown Art Museum, Baum School of Art, Allentown Symphony Hall, Lehigh County Historical Society and Heritage Museum, and the Liberty Bell Museum. Meanwhile, the Central Business District in downtown Allentown is home to many office buildings, including but not limited to the One City Center, Two City Center, and the Dime Savings and Trust Company Building.
In 2009, the Pennsylvania legislature passed legislation (Neighborhood Improvement Zone) to build and carry out a major redevelopment program for the Central Business District in Allentown, PA. This project will certainly bring in more benefits and developments for the city.