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[graphic header] A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor
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[graphic text] Introduction

[photo] Section of the Delaware Canal as it appears today
Photograph from National Historic Landmarks collection
The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (a National Heritage Area affiliated with the National Park Service), the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Steamtown National Historic Site, the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), and the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC) extend their invitation to you to explore the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, featuring historic places in and near eastern Pennsylvania's canal and coal region. Stretching 150 miles from Bristol to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor follows the routes of the Delaware Canal, the Lehigh Navigation System, and the Lehigh & Susquehanna Railroad. This travel itinerary explores 47 places listed in the National Register of Historic Places that illustrate the history of this extraordinary 19th-century transportation system--the backbone of the Corridor--mountain railroads, rivers, dams and canals, devised to move anthracite from mine to market.

The anthracite coal industry began here. Because of the industry's unprecedented scale, the Corridor became the scene of numerous technological and commercial innovations that transformed the landscape. The Corridor contains the only historic system of the Industrial Revolution that integrated anthracite mining and resource extraction, canals and railroads, commerce, agriculture, and industry. So efficient was this system that the Delaware and Lehigh Canals were the longest- and last-operated towpath canals in America; commercial navigation continued until 1942.

[photo]
Old Mauch Chunk Historic District in Jim Thorpe
Photograph by Sue Pridemore

The Corridor contains scenic rivers, mines and company mining towns, canals and canal towns, railroads, the historic industries nourished by the availability of fuel and transportation, towns and cities that grew around them, and a distinctive social and religious heritage. More than 50 different ethnic groups settled here, including people of Czech, German, Italian, African American, Welsh, and Irish descent. The Corridor includes10 National Historic Landmarks, six National Recreation Trails, two National Natural Landmarks, and hundreds of sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places, as well as seven state parks, three state historical sites, 14 state scenic rivers, and 14 state game lands. Included in the itinerary are nearby historic places in Scranton, Pennsylvania, including one National Historic Landmark, and six National Register of Historic Places sites related to Scranton's history as a transportation hub of eastern Pennsylvania. While outside the Heritage Corridor, Scranton's proximity and rich historic offerings, including Steamtown, with its history of railroad transportation and steam engines and rail cars in use and on exhibit, enrich the visitor's understanding and enjoyment of eastern Pennsylvania's role in the nation's history.

This itinerary focuses on the variety of historic districts, buildings, and structures that comprise the coal and canal region of eastern Pennsylvania. The earliest European settlements are recognized in such places as the Old Waterworks in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and the Central Bethlehem Historic District, which tells the story of the Moravians, early German settlers, who founded the town between 1741 and 1844. Washington Crossing State Park honors our first President's crossing of the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War and surprising the British German mercenaries in a desperate hour of the American Revolution. The history of the canal can be seen in such places as the Lehigh Canal, the Delaware Canal, and the Easton Historic District.


[photo]
Fireman's Drinking Fountain in Slatington, Pennsylvania
Photograph by Sue Pridemore

The region's 19th-century industrialization can be seen at the Coplay Cement Company Kilns in Coplay, Pennsylvania, where portland cement was produced. The Lehigh Valley Silk Mills in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the Lock Ridge Furnace Complex, in Alburtis, Pennsylvania, and the Grundy Mill Complex in Bristol also reflect the industrialization of the region. History of mining and labor can be found at the Lackawanna Iron and Coal Company Furnace and Lackawanna County Courthouse and John Mitchell Monument, both in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Scranton also is home to Steamtown National Historic Site, where the region's rail and train history is told. Visitors can also tour the fascinating buildings of Dr. Henry C. Mercer, which include his tool museum, the Mercer Museum, in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the Moravian Pottery & Tile Works and Fonthill, monuments to the eclectic architectural vision of the man and his legacy. Twentieth-century history is reflected in the Honey Hollow Watershed, where land conservation efforts were put in place to halt the erosion of valuable farm soil, and the Pearl S. Buck or Green Hills Farm (Pearl S. Buck House), where the author of "The Good Earth" lived and wrote.

The Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor offers numerous ways to discover the historic places that played important roles in eastern Pennsylvania's past. Each property features a brief description of the place's significance, color and historic photographs, and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page the visitor will find a navigation bar containing links to four essays that explain more about the Delaware and Lehigh Regions, Canal History, Scranton and the Railroad, and Establishing the Heritage Corridor. These essays provide historic background, or "contexts," for many of the places included in the itinerary. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed out if you plan to visit eastern Pennsylvania in person.


[photo]
One of the historic engines now housed at Steamtown National Historic Site
Photograph from National Register collection


Created through a partnership between the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Steamtown National Historic Site, NCSHPO, and NAPC, the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor is an example of a new and exciting cooperative project. As part of the Department of the Interior's strategy to revitalize communities by promoting public awareness of history and encouraging tourists to visit historic places throughout the nation, the National Register of Historic Places is cooperating with communities, regions and Heritage Areas throughout the United States to create online travel itineraries. Using places listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the itineraries help potential visitors plan their next trip by highlighting the amazing diversity of the country's historic places and supplying accessibility information for each featured site. In the Learn More section, the itineraries link to regional and local web sites that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural events, special activities, lodging and dining possibilities as well as histories of the region, should they want to explore further. Visitors may be intersted in Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, located in the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.

The Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor is the eighth of more than 30 organizations working directly with the National Register of Historic Places to create travel itineraries. Additional itineraries will debut online in the future. The National Register of Historic Places, the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the staff at the Steamtown National Historic Site hope you enjoy this virtual travel itinerary of eastern Pennsylvania's historic places. If you have comments or questions, please just click on the provided e-mail address, "comments or questions" located at the bottom of each page.


 [graphic] Link to Canal History Essay
 [graphic] Link to Delaware and Lehigh Region Essay
 [graphic] Link to Scranton and the Railroad Essay
 [graphic] Link to Establishing the Heritage Corridor Essay

 

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JPJ

[graphic] Link to the National Park Service website