The Lehigh Valley Railroad operated a train branch line which served Allentown's commercial west end. It ran along Sumner Avenue servicing the scrap metal yards, warehouses and numerous coal dealers located there. The line then crossed Tilghman Street on a diagonal at 17th, before looping back east by Liberty Street at the Fairgrounds. The line ended at a rail yard now housing the small shopping center at 12th and Liberty. Although many of former commercial buildings still exist, all now house more retail type businesses. The B'nai Brith Apartments occupy the site of the former Trexler Lumber Yard. These historical shorts are difficult to write. Most current residents have no frame of reference to our former commercial past. True historians, such as the local railroad buffs, cringe at the lack of detail and specific location of the tracks. Suffice to say, that once upon a time, the mid-section of Allentown had much more commerce.
photo of train crossing Tilghman at 17th Street taken by Kermit E. Geary in 1974, from the Mark Rabenold Collection.
reprinted from March 2014
TRAIN LECTURE TODAY: At 3:00PM I will give a short talk about the former branch lines which serviced Allentown's prosperity. This session of MOLOVINSKY UNIVERSITY will be conducted at Coffee House Without Limits, 707 N. 4th St. The shop is located at the Cigar Factory, on the corner of 4th and Tilghman.