The Changing Character of Bethlehem

    As area resident Lance Metz noted, "This area is very quickly losing its character as an urban industrial area. It is becoming a suburbanized area.  If you want to see how it has changed, go out to the industrial parks and watch the Trans Bridge buses taking commuters to New York City." (Feb 4, 1991 A6:2)  Certainly a city must lose much of its character after an industry which had raised it from a religious settlement in 1850 to an industrial icon over a century later collapses from beneath, leaving residents to search for a new support, a new image.  Few cities have been as closely tied with an industry as Bethlehem with the Steel.  The two formed together, developing many unique relationships; and with half of the complementary pair gone, Bethlehem is left looking for a new identity.  Whether as a part of the New York megalopolis, the cultural center of the Lehigh Valley, or the early-industrial icon of the nation, Bethlehem is in a liminal stage, waiting to be rebuilt by something stronger than Steel.


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