Nov 13, 2017
When Allentown High Was Pennsylvania Dutch
In 1950 when 16 year old Jayne Lichtenwalner made this plate in art class, Allentown for the most part had a Pennsylvania Dutch demographic. Jayne's family lived at 642 Chew Street. The principal of Allentown High was Clifford Bartholomew. After Bartholomew retired from being principal, he later would go on to become mayor.
Move ahead seventy years, and the Pennsylvania Dutch student is an endangered species in the Allentown School System, perhaps even extinct. The new superintendent of the system is from Detroit, and the mayor is from Chicago. The dominant demographic in center city is now Hispanic, and they just elected the Chicago mayor for a fourth term, even though he's indicted for corruption.
I grew up on the south side near the Mack Truck assembly plant. I graduated from Allen in the middle 1960's, and remember when Bartholomew was principal and then mayor. I worked in center city when the stores died and the neighborhoods changed. This blog was designed to be the juncture of local history and politics. Because I find the politics at the moment so distressing, I'll be conducting more history classes.