Mar 10, 2016

The Butchers of Allentown

photograph by Bob Wilt

A&B (Abogast&Bastian), dominated the local meat packing industry for almost 100 years. At it's peak, they employed 700 people and could process 4,000 hogs a day. The huge plant was at the foot of Hamilton Street, at the Lehigh River. All that remains is their free standing office building, which has been incorporated into America on Wheels. Front and Hamilton was Allentown's meatpacking district. Within one block, two national Chicago meatpackers, Swift and Wilson, had distribution centers. Also in the area were several small independents, among them M. Feder and
Allentown Meat Packing Company.

reprinted from February 2013

ADDENDUM MARCH 2016: Allentown Meat Packing was owned by my father and uncle. The area was criss-crossed with tracks, owned by both LVRR and Jersey Central. All the plants had their own sidings. molovinsky on allentown will be revisiting this area in upcoming posts. This is an era when commerce was measured in factories and production, not just relocated office workers.

2 comments:

Ray Nemeth Sr said...

I remember this well, they were still in business in 1970,s, along with Neuweilers, Old Dutch, the dye house down along the river, Behler furniture, Phoenix cloths. We were told we would become a high tech nation and the necessities of life would be made elsewhere. everyone now is either in retail or the distribution of products or government paper shufflers. Without producing wealth, we will continue to decline.

michael molovinsky said...

ray@9:16, i agree that manufacturing was the key to our standard of living. now, even apple computers are made in china, although at $1k each, they could still be made profitably here. thank G-d for steve jobs and bill gates, but next generation, even our intellectual property will probably be from India or China.