Oct 23, 2015

Downhill On Lehigh Street


During the early 1970's, Allentown demolished the entire neighborhood between Union and Lawrence Streets. It was, in a large part, home to the black community. How ironic that we destroyed the cohesion of a neighborhood, but renamed Lawrence Street after Martin Luther King. The only remnant of the neighborhood is the St. James A.M.E. Church. Going up the hill today we now have a vacant bank call center on the east, and the Housing Authority Project on the west. A whole neighborhood existed in from both sides of Lehigh Street, including black owned shops. The houses were old and humble, but people owned them, many for generations. Some blacks at the time wondered if the project was Urban Renewal or Negro Removal?

 reprinted from January of 2011

2 comments:

Ray Nemeth Sr said...

I love these old pictures of the city. From 1959 to 1963 I attended Central catholic High school, The students from Emmaus got off the Lanta bus at 8th and Hamilton and walked to 4th & Chew every school day, and back in the afternoon. Both boys and girls had no fear of the city. The stores on Hamilton St. were great. Besides Hess Brothers, there were several large department stores plus at least 3 sporting goods stores that sold guns and fishing equipment. Allentown had at least 4 Movie theaters, I could go on and On. I know it is not politically correct, but the urban development and social experimentation of the 1960"s contributed to the decline of the cities.

Dreaming of Justice said...

There's no need to wonder- look at the lily-white people in the restaurants downtown. This is what they wanted, right? Wait until the Syrian refugees begin to show up. No moderate cost housing is available- just run down buildings, busted rooming houses. What a mess.