Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Bethlehem in Northampton County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

From Mountain to Market

1829 - 1942

 
 
From Mountain to Market Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, October 3, 2020
1. From Mountain to Market Marker
Inscription.  
"A few miles above Easton, the Lehigh was pocked with white water at almost every turning. To navigate it seemed impossible."
Josiah White, Co-founder of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company

Pennsylvania's anthracite (hard coal) lay entombed within isolated, rugged mountain valleys north and west of the turbulent Lehigh River. Anthracite spelled money to those who knew of markets downstream, but low-cost transportation challenged prospective coal barons. By the beginning of the 19th century, eager businessmen struggle toward a solution.

A civil engineering feat of its time, the Lehigh Navigation tamed an almost 1,000 foot elevation drop between White Haven and Easton. Creatively designed, it used dams, hand-dug channels and calm river straits to weave a path downstream. It eventually became known as the largest capacity and longest running towpath canal in America. The section between Mauch Chunk (today's Jim Thorpe) and Easton still offers tow-path trails and watered sections.

Though successful longer than most due to location and industries it spawned,

From Mountain to Market Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, October 3, 2020
2. From Mountain to Market Marker
the canal finally closed. Costly floods, railroad systems, evolving highway networks and declining coal sales eventually took their toll. The last boat floated peacefully along the canal the evening before the flood of 1942. An era and lifestyle ended.

Each boat captain warned locktenders of their approach through some type of horn. Conch shells were popular.

[Photo caption reads]
Loading Panther Valley anthracite into canal boats in Mauch Chunk.
 
Erected by Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Bethlehem City and Township, and Carbon County.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EnvironmentIndustry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels.
 
Location. 40° 36.971′ N, 75° 22.8′ W. Marker is in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in Northampton County. Marker is on D&L Trail / Sand Island Trail 0.2 miles east of Main Street, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 28 River St, Bethlehem PA 18015, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Water-Powered Elevator (within shouting distance of this marker); Coal for Cabbage (within shouting distance of this marker); It's a Short Commute (within shouting distance of this marker); The Canaler's Life

Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
(approx. 0.2 miles away); Sisters' House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Bell House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Hilda Doolittle (approx. 0.2 miles away); Gemeinhaus (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bethlehem.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 6, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 6, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 30 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 6, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
Paid Advertisement
Feb. 25, 2021