Allentown, Pennsylvania lies along the banks of the Lehigh River in Lehigh County. Allentown, population 106,632 (2000 Census), ranks as PA's third largest city. Allentown boasts a centralized location with access to main arteries such as Interstates 78 and 476, as well as State Route 22. Allentown is 55 miles north of Philadelphia, 85 miles east of the capital city, Harrisburg, and only 96 miles west of New York City.
Allentown is the seat of Lehigh County and the largest of three bordering cities that comprise an eastern PA/western New Jersey region known as Lehigh Valley. The two remaining cities in Lehigh Valley are Bethlehem and Easton. Bordered by Blue Mountain and South Mountain, Lehigh Valley holds a population of more than 808,000 residents and ranks as the third largest metro area in PA.
Allentown has a manufacturing-based economy, with the healthcare, service, and retail industries contributing a great deal of financial stability. The corporate headquarters for Air Products & Chemicals and PPL Corporation are in Allentown, and until recently, it was home to the corporate headquarters of Mack Trucks. When Mack Trucks left Allentown, it took approximately 600 local jobs with it. However, Lehigh Valley Health Network moved into the vacated building and brought in 1,000 employees. With more than 7,800 employees, Lehigh Valley Hospital remains the largest employer in Allentown.
Allentown boasts several hospitals and health networks, including Allentown State Hospital, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Sacred Heart Hospital, St. Luke's Health Network, and Westfield Hospital. The Pennsylvania Department of Health oversees these facilities, and has a specific division (Acute and Ambulatory Care) that fields all complaints, malpractice, and negligence claims concerning these hospitals.
Allentown is home to two four-year colleges, Cedar Crest College and Muhlenberg College. Allentown residents seeking higher education also have the many colleges and universities in Philadelphia within a reasonable driving distance. These include Drexel University, Temple University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Significant in American history, Allentown was the hiding place of the Liberty Bell during the American Revolutionary War. Today the Liberty Bell Museum, located in the basement of the Old Zion Reformed Church, marks the spot where the bell once hid undetected. Several additional museums also draw many visitors to the area, including the Allentown Art Museum, America On Wheels, and the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum.
Other popular destinations include the Allentown Symphony Orchestra, the Da Vinci Science Center, Old Allentown, Lehigh Ironpigs baseball events, and Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom. Local cuisine reflects Allentown's German heritage, with delicacies such as chow-chow, Lebanon bologna, and scrapple. Close proximity to Philadelphia also makes cheesesteaks a popular staple in the area. Allentown's community celebrations include the Lehigh Valley Sportsfest, Lights in the Parkway, and Mayfair Festival of the Arts.
Allentown, Pennsylvania offers residents and visitors an intimate look into America's heritage, while providing all the amenities of modern times. This vibrant community is a two-time winner of the All-America City Award, with recognition in 1962 and 1974-1975.
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