Lehigh County, Pennsylvania

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Lehigh County, Pennsylvania
Seal of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania
Seal
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the United States highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
Founded March 6, 1812
Named for Lehigh River
Seat Allentown
Largest city Allentown
Area
 • Total 349 sq mi (904 km2)
 • Land 347 sq mi (899 km2)
 • Water 2 sq mi (5 km2), 0.48%
Population
 • (2010) 349,497
 • Density 1,007/sq mi (388.7/km²)
Congressional district 15th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.lehighcounty.org

Lehigh County is a county located in the Lehigh Valley region of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 349,497.[1] Its county seat is Allentown, the state's third largest city behind Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.[2] The county, which was first settled around 1730, was formed in 1812 with the division of Northampton County into two counties. It is named after the Lehigh River, whose name is derived from the Delaware Indian term Lechauweki or Lechauwekink, meaning "where there are forks".[3]

Lehigh County is included in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical Area.

It is currently the fastest growing county in the entire state of Pennsylvania, and among the fastest growing nationwide from 2010 to 2012, ranking in the 79th percentile overall for that time period.[4]

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 348 square miles (901.3 km2), of which 345 square miles (893.5 km2) is land and 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2) (0.9%), water.[5]

Topography[edit]

The Lehigh River near Slatington at the Lehigh County–Northampton County line, 2007

The Lehigh Valley, which includes all of Lehigh and Northampton counties, is bounded on the north by Blue Mountain, a ridge of the Appalachian mountain range with an altitude of 1,300 to 1,604 feet (489 m), and on the south by South Mountain, a ridge of 700 to 1,100 feet (340 m) that cuts through the southern portions of the two counties. The highest point in Lehigh County is Bake Oven Knob, a mass of Tuscarora conglomeratic rocks that rise about 100 feet (30 m) above the main ridge of the Blue Mountain in northwestern Heidelberg Township.[6]

Lehigh County is in the Delaware River watershed. While most of the county is drained by the Lehigh River and its tributaries, the Schuylkill River also drains regions in the south of the county via the Perkiomen Creek and the northwest via the Maiden Creek.

Adjacent counties[edit]

Climate[edit]

Most of the county's climate is considered to fall in the humid continental climate zone. Summers are typically hot and muggy, fall and spring are generally mild, and winter is cold. Precipitation is almost uniformly distributed throughout the year.

For the city of Allentown, January lows average −6 °C (21 °F) and highs average 1.3 °C (34.3 °F). The lowest officially recorded temperature was −26.7 °C (−16.1 °F) in 1912 . July lows average 17.6 °C (63.7 °F) and highs average 29.2 °C (84.6 °F), with an average relative humidity (morning) of 82%. The highest temperature on record was 40.6 °C (105.1 °F) in 1966 . Early fall and mid winter are generally driest, with October being the driest month with only 74.7 mm of average precipitation.[7]

Snowfall is variable, with some winters bringing light snow and others bringing numerous significant snowstorms. Average snowfall is 82.3 centimetres (32.4 in) per year,[8] with the months of January and February receiving the highest at just over 22.86 centimetres (9.00 in) each. Rainfall is generally spread throughout the year, with eight to twelve wet days per month,[9] at an average annual rate of 110.54 centimetres (43.52 in).[10]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 18,895
1830 22,256 17.8%
1840 25,787 15.9%
1850 32,479 26.0%
1860 43,753 34.7%
1870 56,796 29.8%
1880 65,969 16.2%
1890 76,631 16.2%
1900 93,893 22.5%
1910 118,832 26.6%
1920 148,101 24.6%
1930 172,893 16.7%
1940 177,533 2.7%
1950 198,207 11.6%
1960 227,536 14.8%
1970 255,304 12.2%
1980 272,349 6.7%
1990 291,130 6.9%
2000 312,090 7.2%
2010 349,497 12.0%
Est. 2012 355,245 1.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
2012 Estimate[1]
Allentown, Pennsylvania in Lehigh County, 2010

As of the 2010 census, the county was 71.6% White Non-Hispanic, 6.1% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American or Alaskan Native, 2.9% Asian, 0.0% Native Hawaiian, 2.9% were two or more races, and 8.6% were some other race. 18.8% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry.

As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 312,090 people, 121,906 households, and 82,164 families residing in the county. The population density was 900 people per square mile (348/km²). There were 128,910 housing units at an average density of 372 per square mile (144/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 87.02% White, 3.56% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 2.10% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 5.28% from other races, and 1.83% from two or more races. 10.22% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 27.1% were of German, 7.9% Italian, 7.7% Irish, 6.2% Pennsylvania German and 5.6% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 85.0% spoke English, 8.4% Spanish and 1.2% Arabic as their first language.

There were 121,906 households out of which 30.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.00% were married couples living together, 10.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.60% were non-families. 27.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the county, the population was spread out with 23.90% under the age of 18, 8.10% from 18 to 24, 29.20% from 25 to 44, 23.00% from 45 to 64, and 15.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 93.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.60 males.

Politics and government[edit]

As of January 2010, there are 223,867 registered voters in Lehigh County:[15]

Lehigh County and neighboring Northampton County are part of Pennsylvania's 15th Congressional district. The 15th Congressional district is a contentious swing district with neither Republicans nor Democrats winning the district consistently. Despite the advantage in Democratic registration in the district, voters elected Republicans Charlie Dent in 2004, 2006 and 2008 and, previously, Pat Toomey in 1998, 2000, and 2002. In 2004, the county narrowly voted for John Kerry over George W. Bush for President, and in 2008 the county gave all statewide Democratic candidates significant leads and Barack Obama a victory of more than 15 points over John McCain, 57.1% to 41.5%.[16]

All five statewide winners carried it in November 2004. Although the Republican Party has historically been dominant in county-level politics, the Democratic Party has made substantial inroads this decade. In 2005, Bethlehem Mayor Don Cunningham unseated incumbent County Executive Jane Ervin to become the first Democrat to be elected to the office. Four of the nine commissioner seats and all row offices except for the District Attorney have held by Democrats since winning two at-large seats in November 2007. Lehigh County has a home-rule charter with four at-large and five district commissioners. In 2006 Lehigh County voters approved a county-charter amendment to combine the offices of Clerk of Courts, Register of Wills, and Recorder of Deeds into the office of the Clerk of Judicial Records. Clerk of Courts Andrea Naugle won the new office in November 2007.

County Executives[edit]

Lehigh County Executives
Name Party Term start Term end
Jane R. Ervin Republican 2002 2006
Don Cunningham Democratic 2006 2012
William H. Hansell, Jr. Democratic 2012 2013
Matt Croslis Democratic 2013 2014
Tom Muller Democratic 2014 Incumbent


Commissioners[edit]

Office Holder Party
County Commissioner Amanda Holt Republican
County Commissioner Thomas C. Creighton III Republican
County Commissioner Percy Dougherty Republican
County Commissioner Michael Schware Republican
County Commissioner Lisa Scheller (chair) Republican
County Commissioner Vic Mazziotti Republican
County Commissioner David S. Jones Sr. Democratic
County Commissioner Geoff Brace Democratic
County Commissioner Brad Osborne (vice-chair) Republican

Other county offices[edit]

Office Holder Party
Clerk of Judicial Records Andrea Naugle Democratic
County Executive Tom Muller (Acting) Democratic
Controller Glenn Eckhart Republican
Coroner Scott Grim Democratic
District Attorney James B. Martin Republican
Sheriff Ronald Rossi Democratic

Pennsylvania House of Representatives[edit]

District Representative Party
131 Justin Simmons Republican
132 Michael H. Schlossberg Democratic
133 Daniel T. McNeill Democratic
134 Ryan E. Mackenzie Republican
135 Steve Samuelson Democratic
183 Julie Harhart Republican
187 Gary Day Republican

Pennsylvania State Senate[edit]

District Representative Party
16 Pat Browne Republican
18 Lisa Boscola Democratic
24 Bob Mensch Republican
29 Dave Argall Republican

United States House of Representatives[edit]

Municipalities[edit]

Map of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Cities and Boroughs (red), Townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue)
Young people gather on 19th Street, in Allentown's West End, 2007
A farm in Lynn Township in Lehigh County, 2008

.

Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in only one case, towns. The following cities, boroughs and townships are located in Lehigh County:

Cities[edit]

Boroughs[edit]

Townships[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Census-designated places are geographical areas designated by the U.S. Census Bureau for the purposes of compiling demographic data. They are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law. Other unincorporated communities, such as villages, may be listed here as well.

Notable villages[edit]

Education[edit]

4-Year Colleges and Universities[edit]

2-Year Colleges and Technical institutes[edit]

Public school districts and schools[edit]

Map of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania School Districts

Public charter schools[edit]

Non-public high schools[edit]

Transportation[edit]

Air transportation[edit]

Lehigh County's primary airport, Lehigh Valley International Airport (IATA: ABEICAO: KABE), is located three miles (5 km) northeast of Allentown in Hanover Township.

The county is also served by Allentown Queen City Municipal Airport, a two-runway general aviation facility located off of Allentown's Lehigh Street. Queen City is used predominantly by private aviation that was awarded General Aviation Airport of the year by the Eastern Region of the Federal Aviation Administration in 2006.[17]

Bus transportation[edit]

Public bus service in Lehigh County is available through the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority, known as LANTA. Several private bus lines, including Bieber Tourways, Susquehanna Trailways and Trans-Bridge Lines, provide bus service from Allentown to New York City's Port Authority Bus Terminal, Philadelphia's Greyhound Terminal, Atlantic City's Bus Terminal, and other regional locations.

Road transportation[edit]

Interstates[edit]

US Highway System[edit]

Pennsylvania Highway System[edit]

Other roads[edit]

Media[edit]

The Lehigh County is part of the Philadelphia broadcast media market, though numerous New York City radio and television stations also are available in Allentown and its suburbs. Lehigh County-based media include The Morning Call, a daily newspaper in Allentown, and two Allentown-based television stations: WLVT Channel 39 (a PBS affiliate) and WFMZ Channel 69 (an unaffiliated, independent television station).

Television[edit]

The four major New York City-based network stations serving Lehigh County include WCBS-TV (CBS), WNBC (NBC), WABC (ABC) and WNYW (Fox). The four major Philadelphia-based network stations serving Lehigh County include KYW-TV (CBS), WCAU (NBC), WPVI (ABC) and WTXF (Fox). Lehigh Valley-based television outlets include WFMZ-TV Channel 69 (an Allentown-based independent station) and WLVT-TV (a Bethlehem-based PBS affiliate).

Print[edit]

The primary newspaper for the county is The Morning Call, based in Allentown.

Radio[edit]

Lehigh County-area radio stations include WAEB-AM, a news, talk and sports station (in Allentown), WAEB-FM (known as B104), a Top 40 music station (in Allentown), WZZO, a hard rock music station (in Whitehall Township), and others. Some major New York City stations and every major Philadelphia station also can be heard in the county.


Telecommunications[edit]

Lehigh County was once served only by the 215 area code from 1947 (when the North American Numbering Plan of the Bell System went into effect) until 1994. With the county's growing population, however, Lehigh County areas were afforded area code 610 in 1994. Today, Lehigh County is covered by 610. An overlay area code, 484, was added to the 610 service area in 1999.[18] A plan to introduce area code 835 as an additional overlay was rescinded in 2001.[19]

Public parks and recreation[edit]

Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom's Steel Force and Thunderhawk roller coasters, just outside Allentown. Steel Force opened in 1997 as the tallest and fastest roller coaster on the East Coast of the United States, with a first drop of 205 feet (62 m) and a top speed of 75 miles per hour (121 km/h).[20]
Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Most municipalities in the county have set aside at least some land for public recreation, from neighborhood parks and playgrounds to the more expansive parkways developed by the county, city and several townships. Following are the public parks within the county of more than of 25 acres (100,000 m2), including listings of their primary activities:

  • Cedar Creek Parkway, Allentown, 127 acres (0.51 km2). City-owned park along Cedar Creek that includes Lake Muhlenberg and Malcolm W. Gross Rose Gardens. Activities: hiking/walking, jogging, basketball, fishing, swimming and picnicking. Mayfair, an annual arts festival, is held in the Parkway each May.
  • Cedar Creek Parkway East, South Whitehall Township, 37.5 acres (152,000 m2). County-owned park along Cedar Creek that includes Haines Mill Museum. Activities: hiking/walking, soccer, fishing, nature study and picnicking.
  • Cedar Creek Parkway West, South Whitehall Township, 261 acres (1.06 km2). County-owned park along Cedar Creek. Activities: hiking/walking, jogging, baseball, softball, soccer, tennis, basketball, swimming, nature study and picnicking.
  • Covered Bridge Park, South Whitehall Township, 165 acres (0.67 km2). Township-owned park along Jordan Creek that includes two historic covered bridges. Activities: hiking/walking, jogging, football, soccer fields, volleyball, handball, fishing, disc golf, playground and nature study.
  • Jordan Creek Parkway, Whitehall & South Whitehall Townships, 296.1 acres (1.198 km2). County-owned park along Jordan Creek. Activities: hiking/walking, jogging, bicycling, softball, baseball, soccer, tennis, fishing, cross country skiing and nature study.
Jordan Creek Greenway in Lehigh County
  • Leaser Lake, Lynn Township, 540.5 acres (2.187 km2). County-owned park (227.6 acres (0.921 km2)) and Pennsylvania Fish Commission-owned (312.9 acres (1.266 km2)) recreation area that includes a 117-acre (0.47 km2) lake. Activities: hiking/walking, fishing, hunting, boating (sail, other non-motor and small electric motor), cross country skiing, ice-skating, nature study and picnicking.
  • Lehigh Canal Park, Allentown, 55 acres (220,000 m2). City-owned park along the Lehigh River. Activities: hiking/walking, fishing and non-motor boating.
  • Lehigh Parkway, Allentown, 999 acres (4.04 km2). City-owned park along Little Lehigh Creek that also includes the Lil-Le-Hi Trout Nursery. Activities: hiking/walking, bicycling, fishing, disc golf, nature study and picnicking.
Lehigh Parkway in Lehigh County
  • Lock Ridge Park, Alburtis, 59.2 acres (240,000 m2). County-owned park along Swabia Creek that includes the Lock Ridge Furnace Museum. Activities: hiking/walking, baseball, bicycling, fishing, cross country skiing, nature study and picnicking.
  • Lower Macungie Township Community Park, Lower Macungie township, 56. acres (230,000 m2). Township-owned park along Spring Creek. Activities: hiking/walking, jogging, soccer and picnicking.
  • Bob Rodale Cycling and Fitness Park, Upper Macungie Township, 103.4 acres (0.418 km2). County-owned bicycle track and fitness area. Activities: Hiking/walking, bicycling, softball, cricket, soccer, basketball, cross country skiing, roller blading, jogging, nature study, playground and picnicking.
  • South Mountain Big Rock Park, Upper Saucon and Salisbury Townships, 57.1 acres (231,000 m2). County-owned park. Activities: hiking/walking, picnicking and nature study.
  • Trexler Memorial Park, Allentown, 134 acres (0.54 km2). City-owned park along Cedar Creek. Activities: hiking/walking, jogging and nature study.
  • Trexler Nature Preserve, North Whitehall Township, 1,108 acres (4.48 km2). County-owned park along Jordan Creek, formerly Trexler-Lehigh County Game Preserve, which includes the Lehigh Valley Zoo and is adding 18 miles (29 km) of trails in 2010. Activities: hiking/walking, mountain biking, jogging, fishing, hunting, nature study and picnicking.
  • Upper Macungie Park, Upper Macungie Township, 156.2 acres (0.632 km2). Township-owned park with nature trail. Activities: hiking/walking, baseball, softball, sand volleyball, horse shoes, playground, jogging, nature study and picnicking.
  • Whitehall Parkway, Whitehall Township, 110 acres (0.45 km2). Township-owned park connected to the nine-mile (14 km) Ironton Rail-Trail. Activities: hiking/walking, bicycling, jogging and nature study.

Notable people[edit]

Lehigh County is the birthplace of, or home to, several notable Americans, including:

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Official records for Allentown were kept at Allentown Gas Company from March 1922 to December 1943, and at Lehigh Valley Int'l since January 1944. For more information, see ThreadEx.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 17, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Roberts, Charles R. (1936). "Place Names of Lehigh County and Their Origin". Proceedings: Lehigh County Historical Society (Lehigh County Historical Society). 
  4. ^ http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-lehigh-county-census-20130314,0,5663798.story
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ Miller, Benjamin LeRoy (1941). Lehigh County Pennsylvania: Geology and Geography. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Department of Internal Affairs, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 
  7. ^ "Normal Monthly Precipitation, Inches". Retrieved 2006-11-04. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Snowfall – Average Total In Inches". Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  9. ^ "Average Days of Precipitation, .01 cm or more". Retrieved 2006-11-04. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Average Monthly Precipitation". Retrieved 2006-11-04. [dead link]
  11. ^ "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  12. ^ "WMO Climate Normals for ALLENTOWN/A.-BETHLEHEM, PA 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  13. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved November 17, 2013. 
  14. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  15. ^ Pennsylvania Department of State
  16. ^ "Election Results 2008: President Map". New York Times. 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  17. ^ "Queen City Airport Designated General Aviation Airport of the Year by the Federal Administration Eastern Region". Lehigh Valley International Airport. Retrieved 2007-06-22. 
  18. ^ NANP-Overlay of 610 (Pennsylvania) Numbering Plan Area (NPA) with 484 NPA PDF (359 KB)
  19. ^ PA 835 Implementation for 484/610 NPA Rescinded – 835 NPA Code Reclaimed PDF (20.8 KB)
  20. ^ "Rollercoaster Database: Steel Force (Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom)". Retrieved 2008-07-10. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Lehigh County, Pennsylvania at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 40°37′N 75°35′W / 40.61°N 75.59°W / 40.61; -75.59