Mar 19, 2014

Allentown's West End Train

The Lehigh Valley Railroad operated a train branch line which served Allentown's commercial west end. It ran along Sumner Avenue servicing the scrap metal yards, warehouses and numerous coal dealers located there. The line then crossed Tilghman Street on a diagonal at 17th, before looping back east by Liberty Street at the Fairgrounds. The line ended at a rail yard now housing the small shopping center at 12th and Liberty. Although many of former commercial buildings still exist, all now house more retail type businesses. The B'nai Brith Apartments occupy the site of the former Trexler Lumber Yard. These historical shorts are difficult to write. Most current residents have no frame of reference to our former commercial past. True historians, such as the local railroad buffs, cringe at the lack of detail and specific location of the tracks. Suffice to say, that once upon a time, the mid-section of Allentown had much more commerce.

photo of train crossing Tilghman at 17th Street taken by Kermit E. Geary in 1974, from the Mark Rabenold Collection.

reprinted from December 2012


THE observer said...

Remember the tracks well used to put pennies on the track.........also world of mirth unloaded the fair train along sumner av. Remember the carnies walking up from the tracks everybody was on guard funny the things we worried about back then

michael molovinsky said...

observer@11:14, i'll be posting a photo of the world of mirth train. btw, now the carnies are afraid of the townies

Dreaming of Justice said...

These sorts of vignettes are great- the best is when your readers contribute their own memories. Allentown and Bethlehem are great railroad towns, and the history that got all of it established is fascinating to me. So keep up the good work.

John Patton said...

Every time i pass this intersection, I think of this picture. In fact, a lot of the historical pictures you post, as well as others I have in my collection, I find myself driving through town and seeing things as they used to be, not as they are today. It makes Allentown seem more peaceful as I drive through it.