Allen Twp. once covered more territory
Today, we will be taking a look at the history of a neighbor, Allen Township.
My friend Mr. Larry Oberly, an Allen Township supervisor, wrote an excellent column in the township's newsletter, giving us a glimpse of local history.
As most of my readers know, Larry has used his camera to provide hundreds of photographs for the Remembering column. He is also the secretary of the Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum and graciously agreed to share his research with our loyal readers.
The history of Allen Township is long and storied, but one feature of the early township is that a division of land over time was a given. In 1742, the court in Bucks County created Lower Saucon Township, then Bethlehem Township in 1746 and Allen Township in 1748.
Northampton County was not created until 1752. In each case, the need that brought about the creation of these early governments was roads. Early transportation was cumbersome and required great effort. The current Allen Township boundary is quite different from the area it encompassed in 1748.
In 1902, three villages closely located along the Lehigh River had gained enough population. Thanks to new evolving transportation systems of the 19th century and the newly erected cement industry, they became boroughs.
The first of these Allen Township villages was Siegfried Ferry, so named because it was the home of the only method of crossing the Lehigh River north of present-day Allentown, after 1750. It was named for the second owner of the ferry, not the first.
John Siegfried became a great example of a self-made man in the true American tradition.
He became a man revered in the county for his economic prowess and community spirit, which included leading the county militia during the American Revolution and donating land, along with a few neighbors, to build the first subscription school in what is Northampton in 1794.
Siegfried's Ferry arose out of the interesting transportation systems of roadway and river. Eventually the ferry was replaced with a covered bridge and the name changed to Siegfrieds Bridge, then later just Siegfried. It would be located (today) between 19th and 24th streets in current Northampton.
Col. John Siegfried was a friend of General George Washington and participated in numerous Revolutionary War battles. He is remembered in the old Mennonite cemetery on West 21st Street in Northampton.
A few years ago, the old Wolf Elementary building on Lincoln Avenue was renamed in his honor, now known as the Colonel John Siegfried Elementary School.
More local history with Larry in two weeks.