Instawalk: Bethlehem Steel

for work i’ve been having to drive between north suburban philadelphia and north jersey several times a week. i used to go mostly through new jersey (I-95), paying up to $10 in tolls each way, until my coworkers told me there was a much cheaper way (only $1 in tolls, coming back) that wasn’t much longer if you go north to just about allentown, and then east (via I-78).

one thing i noticed was how gorgeous the lehigh (pronounced like “knee-high”) valley is. the area east of allentown that I-78 winds through is an expanse of verdant rolling hills, reminding me of parts of the neckar valley in germany. i even stopped at a rest stop to take a photosynth which doesn’t do the area justice.

every time i passed by bethlehem, i spotted signs that said “Historic Bethlehem ” and wondered what was there. i racked my brain trying to remember what sort of events might have happened in the area, perhaps something from the revolutionary war, but it didn’t ring a bell. it wasn’t until today, when i finally pulled off the highway and looked the city up on wikipedia that i facepalmed — duh, bethlehem steel! maybe there’s more to the historic part of town than that, but that was enough for me! [EDIT: turns out there really is a historic part of town, as this lehigh valley tourism video shows]

some of you may know that i love taking pictures of abandoned things (buildings included), so i was like a kid in a candy store. the best part is that the area around the abandoned mill is being revitalized — as a sands casino on one side and an art and culture center on the other (great map via artsquest with an overhead view).

well, no, the even bester part is that you can get right up next to the rusting buildings. there’s just a chain link fence around them! *squee*

In this photo you can see part of the shell over the small outdoor concert stage, right under the old blast furnaces!

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