May 26, 2022

Mapping Allentown's Past


The map, partially shown above, was produced by the Nathan Nirenstein Company of Springfield, Massachusetts in 1929. His firm specialized in engineering maps of various center cities on the eastern seacoast. The map is 22X30, and expands out from 7th and Hamilton for 2 1/2 blocks east and west,  2 blocks north and south. The map includes names of both the owner of the building, and the merchant/tenant occupying the space, if different.

While numerous small banks are shown on both Hamilton and the side streets, the coming Depression surely culled that herd. Allentown City Hall and police station are still on Linden Street, while the post office is at 6th and Turner. Two large hardware stores, Young and Hersh, are on Hamilton Street.

The buildings are owned by hundreds of different people.  What will future generations think when they see a 2016 map, and all the buildings are owned by just a few people?

above reprinted from September of 2016

ADDENDUM MAY 26, 2022: Although I celebrate neither my birthday nor holidays, this is an anniversary announcement of sorts. This blog started fifteen years ago today, I have produced it every weekday since. I have chronicled the commercial history of the city, recent (2005-2015) corruption and loose ethics at city hall, and the subsequent federal investigation thereof. I have also chronicled the unique Allentown specific NIZ, and the transfer of the business district into the hands of essentially one person. I have chronicled the Morning Call's complicity and silence on this unique situation. 

On a calmer note, I have championed for the traditional park system, its waterways with dams included, and the WPA structures from the 1930's. 

Although this is no format for popularity or invitations,  I like to think that it is nevertheless a contribution.

1 comment:

  1. MM - Congratulations on hitting the 15-year milestone!

    I've been reading the blog for a long time and have truly enjoyed reading your posts and the discussions they've spurred on. I've learned a lot about issues that weren't being covered elsewhere (like the MC), and truly appreciate your efforts regarding the park system.

    Best wishes as you begin the next 15!

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