Jan 28, 2016

Bob Smith Jr. Times Two

Its been a long time since anybody used a pack of matches to advertise a political campaign. Who knows, maybe with marijuana becoming fashionable, someone will again use a match pack to make a point. Most local politicos know Bob Smith, long time Allentown School Board member. Bob also had a flirtation with city council and running for mayor. He actually sat on council as a appointed member when Spinoza gave up his seat. Pictured on the matches is an earlier Bob Smith Jr., who also ran for several offices, including mayor. The first Bob also owned and operated the diner at 19th and Tilghman Streets for a number of years.

I present this short political history hopefully as a transition from politics to history.  I'm hoping the political commotion in Allentown slows down enough to allow some long overdue history posts.


michael molovinsky said...

a reader just sent me back channel some more material on the first bob smith:

In addition to running Hook's Diner at 19th Street, he also ran, the "Top of the Mall" restaurant at the Whitehall Mall Zollinger-Harned Store. Additionally, Smith owned the Allentown Motor Inn at 4th and Hamilton, which became a Sheraton, under his ownership, and then ultimately the Hamilton Plaza under Ray Holland's ownership. Smith filed a lawsuit against the City for using federal funding for the development of the Allentown Hilton. the city settled the lawsuit with Smith by agreeing to help with marketing all hotels - his, the Americus and the Hilton - and by placing a lot of signs around the region and the City, directing people to Center City Allentown and our shopping, restaurants and hotels. Some of those signs still exist.

Anonymous said...


I know/knew both Bob Smiths, they are/were both real characters who shared a love for the city. The younger Bob Smith was recently deposed as school board president even though he did well in the recent elections. I suspect his days as a public figure will draw to a close when his current term of the ASD board expires.

Scott Armstrong