Aug 4, 2013

Allentown Memories

click on photo to enlarge
From low income sections of center city, to expensive suburbs, Allentown and the Lehigh Valley is becoming home to more and more newcomers. I'm afraid the time will soon come when local memorabilia will have little appeal. Fortunately, for those interested, some impressive collections still exist. This past year Robert Bungerz published Allentown Remembered, documenting his outstanding collection of historical postcards and other objects. David Bausch, former County Executive and authority on Automobile Art, is also a expert on things Allentown. Then there are the many small collections, home of the hidden treasures. Above is an early aerial photograph of the Allentown Fair. Those interested in the recent commotion concerning the 19TH Street Theater District may find the upper right of the photograph interesting. There is no theater, there are no houses on Saint George Street and most of the buildings seem to to garages and automobile in nature (don't tell Auto-Zone). This gem is probably from the late teens or early 20's, and comes from the Thomas Reed Collection. Thomas is aka Z1pyro, long time expert shooter for Zambelli Firework Company. He retired several years ago, and we who appreciate fireworks, notice his departure.

reprinted from previous years

UPDATE: Notice the Allentown Hospital, appearing as a large expanded mansion, in the lower right of the photo. The fairground is crowded with former agriculture and animal display buildings that occupied the parcel, along with many trees.  Since this post was written, and reprinted, the 19th Street makeover has been completed. A new restaurant is planned for half the former Shanty location.


Anonymous said...


Taxpayer dollars were used to convert the restaurant into a spa, now more taxpayer dollars are being used to turn it back into a restaurant. Total folly.

Scott Armstrong

michael molovinsky said...

scott@9:48, pawlowski bragged about new businesses opening up on 19th street since the new streetscape. considering that there are no additional store fronts, i don't know how this is possible. at any rate, apparently we must finance these bragging rights. in the environment he created, one would now feel foolish opening up in allentown without receiving a grant.

Anonymous said...

I would feel foolish patronizing any of these highly-publicized establishments without first being generously subsidized, myself, by The Government.

I'm not afraid to say it. And I certainly don't care who thinks they are offended. Because I am offended by all the free money, none of which I get, being tossed around.

Too bad you, sir, are clearly afraid to print this previously-stated thought / opinion.



Anonymous said...

Robert Bungerz is a charming and multi talented Allentonian. How lucky for us.

Anonymous said...

What grant is the Shanty getting?

Anonymous said...

michael molovinsky said...
scott@9:48, pawlowski bragged about new businesses opening up on 19th street since the new streetscape. considering that there are no additional store fronts, i don't know how this is possible. at any rate, apparently we must finance these bragging rights. in the environment he created, one would now feel foolish opening up in allentown without receiving a grant.

August 4, 2013 at 10:30 AM

What happened to the approximate million given to the hair salon that was to occupy that site? Was that money repaid? Is this renewed Shanty to receive taxpayer dollars too?

michael molovinsky said...

@2:42, the newspaper mentioned that a facade grant is available, but i wouldn't be surprised by additional incentives

@3:11, the hair salon went under, just one more bad investment for a photo opportunity.

please submit no comments which are questions to me, or other readers. the posts assume familiarity with local news.

Anonymous said...

The Hair Salon recieved a $250,000 low interest loan.

Monkey Momma said...

I am familiar with this news story, and besides the facade grant "being available," I am not aware of any taxpayer dollars going into the Shanty's latest resurrection. But, if there is more money being thrown at this project, I would like to know!! The facade grant is nice, but it's just a drop in the bucket of what it will take to restore the Shanty to its restaurant status.

I do hope those hideous wood panels on the outside of the restaurant will be taken down and replaced with a material more appropriate for the outdoors.

Should the Shanty bring back live music and a great bar, I will return to 19th Street on my date nights. I'm actually really excited about this! But not excited enough to endorse more taxpayer investment in restaurants.

TopValleyDawg said...

AWESOME, INTRIGUING shot!! I can look at this stuff forever! Wish I could see a giant, big-screen computer-generated aerial view of Allentown from the very, very beginning showing each building, development, parkway, lot, etc pop up (or DISAPPEAR again, much of THAT of course) with the year at the bottom-corner of the screen changing/ticking forward accordingly little by little all the way to the present day.

All those TREES that ended up being cut on both sides of the track and all that took up what is now the parking lot that stretches south to Chew St! And the Hospital...yeah, much smaller but just a 'little' bit more character architecturally than today, lol. I see the nursing school (that my grandmother attended) is still across the street to the south.

I can spot Ringer's! As for the 1900 block of W. Tilghman St...the area that now is Volpe's, the little plaza that's Rita's, and the adjoining car lot at the SW corner of 19th & Tilghman is still virgin territory! And I don't know WHAT to make of that shrubbery or whatever that is across the street where Hess mini-mart now is. Yes, I notice no houses on Saint George but also that it extends north from the Fairgrounds (Liberty St) then about halfway to Allen it actually makes a sharp, abrupt left to 19th St (nothing at all in that immediate area). My guess is that the Theatre is just about to be built for there seems to be an open space just waiting for it.

Same with the future-Shanty lot next (600) block up. Correct me if I'm wrong but my guess is that the adjacent building just below (across the alley) is still up and now is a law office and the adjacent building to the north was still up as recently as the late-'00s before it got torn down (along with that long-time business at the corner) for the lovely, sight-for-sore-eyes...TD Bank. Just across the street are the same two buildings still there today with that gap between the two that is now Volpe's (formerly the Shanty's) parking lot. Would like to see what it all looked like north of Tilghman, but my guess is what you see for the most part is the north 'edge of town'. Super cool stuff! Keep the history comin'! Educate the newbies and even us who have been here for decades!

"don't tell Auto-Zone", lol!

michael molovinsky said...

topvalley, it's always strange when a blog comment comes so many months after the post. i'm afraid that the real photo is no longer, and only this digital image remains. it appears that the block of st. george street between the first alley (early st.) and allen street was a pit of some sort. which now contains tudor type row houses on both sides, circa 1930 and also an alley behind each side.

Anonymous said...

I bet the ranch that this photo was taken between 1925 and 1927. The two buildings seen in this photo on the 600 blk of N 19th St across from what would be the Shanty were both built 1923 and 1925 respectively and the Theatre didn't open until 1928. I really wonder what those two big blurry structures are at the corner of 19th & Tilghman where Hess is now?

michael molovinsky said...

anon@6:16, although i print comments to old posts, i seldom comment myself at this point. however, i will make an exception. the area which is now the block between liberty and allen shows a quarry on st. george st., i suspect that likewise that blur is a pit on the current site of the hess station. the current hill to the immediate west indicates that the topography was changed to it's east.