Sep 3, 2009
Relics Of Our Past
One of the surviving relics of our industrial past is the right of way of former railroad spur lines. Allentown literally had hundreds of factories serviced by dozens of spur routes and rail sidings. The area between Second and Front Streets was crisscrossed with dozens of spur lines. Even the west end had service. A line ran behind the current site of B'nai B'rith Apartments, across 17 th St. and up along side of the dry-cleaners. The B'nai B'rith was the site of the former Trexler Lumber Yard, which burned to the ground in a spectacular fire in the mid 70's; The heat from the fire could be felt in West Park. The rails and ties are gone, long ago sold to scrap yards. In many cases the space occupied by the right of ways can still be seen to the knowing eye. They appear as alleys which were never paved. Here and there a surviving loading dock provides another clue. Show in this photo from 1939 are the Mack Truck factories on S. 10th Street, now part of the Bridgeworks Complex. Here the components for Mack Trucks were manufactured. The parts were then trucked to the Assembly Plant (5C) located on S. 12 Street, right off of Lehigh Street. "Built Like A Mack Truck" became a figure of speech across America. It was a prouder time than the lyrics from Billy Joe; little did we know that things could get worse.