Jan 17, 2011

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.


gary ledebur said...

4000 hogs in one day! amazing. thanks for the great post. Where do you get these old pics?

Anonymous said...

Those were the days ! if the foul stench of A & B Didn't kill you, the stench from the sewage plant did. I dont miss that plant, good riddance !!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

I worked there as a security guard during my college days. There were 6" long cockroaches running thru the place.

Anonymous said...

I know an Allentonian, who, probably unlike 99% if not 100% of those who read this, who spends a tremendous amount of time EACH and EVERY single, solitary day within a stone's throw of the old A & B meat-packing plant.

He might say that, all these years later, there are cockroaches in the vicinity of six feet long and, sometimes, even bigger, running thru this area 24/7...

...but that would only serve to upset the Suburbanites commenting from afar and the Apologists with an agenda to maintain and promote.

Because poverty is the real criminal, not the individual, or so he is constantly told.

So, instead, on this occasion he says - Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Monkey Momma said...

MM - Please refresh my memory - wasn't your father or grandfather a butcher? I would imagine this is how you got to know the meat packing industry, right?

Frankly, anything that offered jobs to the people in the Valley sounds beautiful to me. But I sure wouldn't want to kayak downstream of active meat packing plants!!

Anonymous said...

People have told me about the screams and squeals from the pigs going to slaughter. That would be enough to make a vegan out out you.

Not everything in the old days was good. Thanks for reminding us of that.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 12:22, the pigs don't react differently today than before, hope you're a vegan.

David Emme said...

For all the good and bad, seeing pics of the old A and B warms my heart for remembering when my mom would pick my dad up. He was a truck driver and a great man(well at least in my eyes.)

God bless
Dave Emme