Allentown, city (1990 pop. 105,090), seat of Lehigh co., E Pa., on the Lehigh River; inc. as a borough 1811, as a city 1867. The largest city in the agricultural and industrial Lehigh Valley, it is a commercial, financial, and government center. Iron, cement, and mining, the city's traditional industrial mainstays, have given way to printing and publishing and the manufacture of food, metal, and leather products, chemicals, electrical and medical equipment, and furniture. In the city are Muhlenberg College, Cedar Crest College, Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales, United Wesleyan College, and a campus of Pennsylvania State Univ. Allentown was founded in 1762 by William Allen, chief justice of Pennsylvania, and was settled largely by German religious groups. First known as Northampton, it was renamed Allentown c.1836. During the Revolutionary War, the city was a munitions center for the Continental Army. Points of interest include the Zion Reformed Church (where the Liberty Bell was kept) and an art museum.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.