Jan 23, 2009
No Past, No Future
Yesterday, I went to the local history room at the public library to continue my research on Mt. Sinai, the old Jewish section of Fairview Cemetery. Sometimes you get lucky, sharing the room with me was Frank Whelan, Allentown's history expert. Many of you may remember Ask Frank, his column at The Morning Call. I found nothing in the card catalog on either Mt. Sinai or Fairview. On a hunch I asked Frank, a Christian, if he knew anything about the obscure Jewish Mt. Sinai; I hit the jackpot. Unfortunately, Allentown is not as lucky. Frank has been laid off from his position at the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum, operated by the Lehigh County Historical Society. Their director, Joseph Garrera, although an expert on Lincoln, is not even from this area. It seems that the local historical society, with a half dozen or so paid positions, chose to dismiss the only local expert on the staff to save a few bucks. Frank's salary was nominal, I'm sure it costs more to feed the penguins at the zoo. Allentown is changing quickly in every way. It is not enough for the Museum to save the local artifacts, while it discards the local resources.