A Brief History of Allentown, PA

Guy D'Andrea, Esq. - PA Abuse Guardian

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The sexual assault lawyers in Allentown, PA, present this article to offer some detailed information about the neighborhood.

Allentown is a city in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. The area spans 17.99 square miles and hosts an approximate population of 121 442, making it Pennsylvania's third most populous city and the 233rd-largest city in the United States. The city is located on Lehigh River and is the fastest-growing major city in Pennsylvania.  The city falls in ZIP codes 18101-18109, 18175, and 18195.


Allentown was originally laid out as Northampton Town in 1762 by William Allen, a wealthy shipping merchant, former mayor of Philadelphia, and then-Chief Justice of the Province of Pennsylvania. The original plan for the town comprised 42 city blocks and consisted of 756 mega-lots.

Following the American Revolution, Allentown, which was then known as Northhampton Town, grew slowly. In 1795, the U.S. Gazetteer described Allentown as,

"A handsome and flourishing town of Northampton County, pleasantly situated on the point of land formed by the Jordan Creek and Little Lehigh junction. It is regularly laid out and contains about ninety dwellings, a German Lutheran and a Calvinist (Zion) Church, an Academy, and three merchant mills."

The charming town residents originally received their mail in Bethlehem until a post office was established at the Compass and Square Hotel at Center Square, which is today's Penn National Bank building. Once the population reached over 700 in the 1810 U.S. Census, Northampton Town was incorporated as the Borough of Northampton in Northampton County on March 18, 1811.

The town was officially named "Allentown" on April 16, 1838, after years of popular usage. Allentown was formally incorporated as a city on March 12, 1867.

Historic Districts

If you're interested in learning more about Allentown's history, be sure to check out its three historic districts:

Old Allentown

  • Established as a historic district on September 6, 1978, and was certified by the Pennsylvania State Historical and Museum Commission on September 26, 1978.

Old Fairgrounds

  • Established on July 8, 1981, and was certified by the Pennsylvania State Historical and Museum Commission on September 9, 1981

West Park

  • Established on December 20, 2000, by City Ordinance, the Pennsylvania State Historical Museum Commission was certified on February 21, 2001.


The city of Allentown has come a long way since 1838 and hosts a modern, urban demographic. The racial and ethnic demographic of Allentown, PA, is as follows:

  • 62.3% White
  • 14.7% Black or African American
  • 0.7% American Indian or Alaska Native
  • 2.9% Asian
  • 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander
  • 4.6% Two or More Races
  • 52.5% Hispanic
  • 32.4% Non-Hispanic White

Between 2015-2019, according to the U.S. Census, 19.2% of Allentown residents are foreign-born.

The median household income in Allentown is $41,167, and the median individual income is $21,458. The median home value in Allentown stands at $131,300, and the median rent is $1,004. The majority (59%) of Allentown residents rent their homes.

Additionally, approximately 3,720 veterans are living in Allentown.

If you're curious about the culture of Allentown, it would be helpful to consider some of its rankings. Allentown, PA, has ranked #106 (of 228) in Most Diverse cities in America, # 121 (of 228) in Best Cities for Outdoor Activities in America, and # 172 (of 228) in Best Cities for Youn Professionals in America.

Additionally, 50% of Niche Survey respondents say there is a good sense of community in Allentown, and 52% of survey respondents reported LGBTQ+ members are accepted.

Allentown is a great city rich in history and is ideal for growing families.

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