It was my intention to do a couple of posts on the old line Allentown merchants, both of them. I called the first The Gems of Allentown, although it dealt with yarn. I chose that title because the second post was to be on Salomon Jewelers. Salomon and Tucker Yarn were all that was left of Allentown's merchants, from before the Pawlowski era. Yesterday, I received a comment from a reader called The Voice of Reason
I recall that about 35 years ago, bethlehem had a grandious plan to reinvent downtown Bethlehem. The area between Center, Church, Union and the Monocacy Creek was to be razed and rebuilt with a mall, a convention center, a performance center, parking decks, office towers and residential buildings. The model was beautiful and you could hardly recognize the "old" Bethlehem.... Fast forward to 2011 - It took twenty-five years to finally develop the section between Guetter and Main. It took longer to replace the void at the NE corner of Broad and New. An office tower and a failed attempt at a "mall" remain in the other section. Luckily, cool heads prevailed and the rest of the plan was scrapped. Can you imaging a Main Street without the Sun Inn? Imaging a Main Street without any of the Victorian buildings that exist from Broad to Church. These buildings arguably make bethlehem unique ....Yesterday, an article in The Morning Call reported that Salomon's are leaving Allentown.* He has sold his Hamilton Street building to developer J.B. Reilly and will relocate the business west of the city. Salomon hit no home run on the sale. Reilly recently paid as much for a building, across from the arena block, which has been boarded up near 7th and Linden for years. It's apparent to me that Salomon is less than enthusiastic about Allentown's transformational plans, at least as a merchant. Who needs shopping anyway?
I hope against hope that there may be a similar awakening in Allentown; just because you can do something, doesn't mean that you should. VOR
Salomon will remain open during the holidays through June