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Hotel Bethlehem

Coordinates: 40°37′13″N 75°22′56″W / 40.620147°N 75.382329°W / 40.620147; -75.382329
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Hotel Bethlehem
The entrance to Hotel Bethlehem in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, December 2017
Hotel Bethlehem is located in Pennsylvania
Hotel Bethlehem
Hotel Bethlehem is located in the United States
Hotel Bethlehem
Location437 Main St., Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Coordinates40°37′13″N 75°22′56″W / 40.620147°N 75.382329°W / 40.620147; -75.382329
Part ofCentral Bethlehem Historic District

The Hotel Bethlehem is a 125-room hotel located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The hotel, which was built in 1922, is a member of the Historic Hotels of America and was built in a Beaux Arts style.[1] It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Central Bethlehem Historic District, which includes 165 contributing buildings. It replaced a hotel that was converted from a general store in 1822.


19th century[edit]

Hotel Bethlehem replaced a hotel that opened in 1822 in a building formerly housing the 1794 general store, and was known as The Golden Eagle, later The Eagle, after a mural by Peter Grosh on the facade. This first hotel was remodeled in the 1870s but in 1920 was demolished for replacement with a more modern and more fireproof structure. The Bethlehem Hotel Corporation built the new Bethlehem Hotel starting in 1921 with funding from Charles M. Schwab and others at Bethlehem Steel, and it was opened in 1922.[2] In 1936, military artist George Gray painted a set of murals, commissioned by General J. Leslie Kincaid, to serve as decor in the hotel taproom. Today these murals are displayed in the Mural Ball Room.[3]

20th century[edit]

On January 29, 1989, there was a major fire on the fourth floor. A guest plugged her traveling iron in, causing a large flash from the outlet that quickly caught fire. She called the hotel lobby, and the front desk staff attempted to put it out with a hose, but the fire raged out of control, spreading to the fifth floor. The fire department ultimately extinguished the fire, but four people died and 14 were injured. At the time, the hotel was filled with 20 judges and police officers in Bethlehem for a convention and a college music competition that brought in guests and their families.[4]

The former solarium, now a restaurant, has original Moravian tile.[5]

After the closure of Bethlehem Steel in the 1990s, the hotel stood vacant and there were plans to convert it into a combination of facilities for the elderly and a women's dormitory for Moravian College. A group of local investors bought it and renovated it extensively in the late 1990s.[2][5] In 2019, the Bethlehem Hotel came third in the USA Today 10 Best Historic Hotels poll.[6]

21st century[edit]

Hotel Bethlehem went on to achieve the rank of #1 Historic Hotel in the Country in the USA Today 10 Best Historic Hotels poll in 2021, and held that position again in 2022.

The Hotel has hosted some recognizable names in TV, movies, and music such as Jonathan Frakes, who was raised in Bethlehem, and his wife Genie Francis, James Franco, Harry Conick Jr., Slash, and Counting Crows.


  1. ^ "Historic Hotel Bethlehem". Historic Hotels of America. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "The Eagle Hotel and Hotel Bethlehem". Local History. Bethlehem Area Public Library. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  3. ^ "George Gray murals land Hotel Bethlehem on another USA Today '10Best' list". lehighvalleylive.com. Retrieved May 29, 2024.
  4. ^ Hugh Bronstein (June 19, 1995). "Hotel Owners Mark Their 10th Year". The Morning Call.
  5. ^ a b Stephen Jiwanmall (July 26, 2019) [July 25, 2019]. "Historic Hotel Bethlehem Vies for National Title". WVLT Public Television.
  6. ^ Nicole Radzievich (August 9, 2019). "Hotel Bethlehem wins spot on USA Today's Top 10 historic hotels list — here are the landmark hotels it beat". The Morning Call.

Further reading[edit]

  • James A. Crutchfield; Bruce A. Haines; Natalie J. Bock (2013). Historic Hotel Bethlehem. Franklin, Tennessee: Grandin Hood. ISBN 9780977128112.