Place:Lehigh Valley, Lehigh, Pennsylvania, United States


NameLehigh Valley
Located inLehigh, Pennsylvania, United States
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The Lehigh Valley, often colloquially called The Valley, is a geographic region formed by the Lehigh River in Lehigh County and Northampton County in eastern Pennsylvania. It is a component valley of the Great Appalachian Valley, bound to the north by the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians (Blue Mountain), to the south by South Mountain, to the west by Lebanon Valley, and to the east by the Delaware River on Pennsylvania's eastern border with Warren County, New Jersey. The Valley is about long and wide. The Lehigh Valley's largest city is Allentown, the third largest city in Pennsylvania, with a population of 125,845 residents as of the 2020 census.

The Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton metropolitan area, which includes the Lehigh Valley, is currently Pennsylvania's third most populous metropolitan area after those of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and the nation's 68th largest metropolitan area with a population of 861,889 residents as of 2020. Lehigh County is among Pennsylvania's fastest-growing counties, and the Lehigh Valley leads Pennsylvania in terms of population growth in the 18-to-34 year old demographic. The region's core population centers are located in southern and central Lehigh and Northampton counties along U.S. Route 22, Pennsylvania Route 309, Interstate 476, and Interstate 78.

The Lehigh Valley's total gross domestic product was $42.9 billion as of 2020, driven by fairly balanced industry sector contributions from the finance, manufacturing, health care and education, and information sectors. The Valley is one of Pennsylvania's largest and fastest growing economies, experiencing a 5% growth in GDP between 2016 and 2017 alone.

The Lehigh Valley has played a sizable and influential role in the country's founding and history. On June 21, 1774, patriots in the region were among the first to organize to oppose British colonial governance, demanding formation of the First Continental Congress and establishing one of the colonies' first patriot militias to drive Loyalists from the area and resist British governance. The Lehigh Valley helped inspire and then supported the Revolutionary War effort, establishing one of the first hospitals for the treatment of wounded Continental Army troops at an Allentown location now occupied by the Farr Building. George Washington and his commanders established two POW camps in Allentown, one at 8th and Hamilton Streets and another on Gordon Street, to house Hessian mercenaries captured at the Battle of Trenton, and Washington visited the region following the Battle of Trenton and several other times during and following the Revolutionary War. Allentown also played a historical role in protecting the Liberty Bell from British capture following the September 26, 1777 fall of Philadelphia to the British Army, concealing the bell for nine months from September 1777 to June 1778 under floor boards in Allentown's Zion Reformed Church, an act later commemorated in 1962 with the establishment of the Liberty Bell Museum inside this Allentown church.

Significant numbers of Lehigh Valley volunteers contributed to the Union's preservation during the American Civil War. In the war's first days, following the April 13, 1861 fall of Fort Sumpter, the Allen Infantry, a militia comprised of volunteers from Allentown and its surrounding communities, responded to Lincoln's April 15, 1861 proclamation by deploying to defend the national capital of Washington, D.C. Four months later, in August 1861, the Allen Infantry and other large numbers of Allentown-area volunteers formed Pennsylvania's 47th Regiment, which bolstered the Union Army's strength considerably, helping lead it to victory in the Battle of St. Johns Bluff and later leading daring raids against Confederate positions in the Deep South, including in the 1864 Red River campaign in the Trans-Mississippi theater.[1]

Beginning in the 18th century and intensifying in the 19th century, the Lehigh Valley's leadership in the mining of coal and iron and later in its 20th century leadership in the manufacturing of steel proved central to the nation's industrialisation, ultimately contributing to the American Industrial Revolution and the nation's rise as a global manufacturing power. The Lehigh Canal, whose construction began in 1818, permitted the region to begin transporting its mined coal and iron and ultimately steel components and products through the Lehigh River to the nation's largest markets in New York City, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and elsewhere. Many Lehigh Valley companies contributed to the region's development as a global industrial leader, including Bethlehem Steel, which grew to become one of the world's largest and most prominent manufacturers of steel in the 20th century before experiencing a rapid downfall, including major layoffs, beginning in the early 1980s and ultimately seeking bankruptcy protection in 2001 and dissolving in 2003.

The Lehigh Valley is located at the center of the U.S. Northeast megalopolis, the nation's most populated region with over 50 million residents, with ease of access and close proximity to the nation's largest population centers, airports, terminals, railways, and seaports, including New York City, which is to its east, and Philadelphia, which is to its southeast. The Lehigh Valley is located geographically within a one-day drive to more than a third of the total U.S. population and over half of Canada's population, which has proven influential in its 21st emergence as a national leader in warehousing, logistics, manufacturing, and distribution and helped offset losses experienced from the region's decline in heavy manufacturing that began in the early 1980s. By air, the Valley is serviced by Lehigh Valley International Airport, whose air traffic has grown significantly in the 21st century, fueled mostly by increases in air cargo traffic, which exceeded 210 million pounds in 2016.

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