Northampton County was founded back in 1752, and it is hard to imagine what those first settlers would have thought about the way modern life is now when you visit this beautiful and thriving region of Pennsylvania. While the local scenery and natural wonders of the area still shine through among the growing cities and suburbs, Northampton County has seen a dramatic shift—even when you only look back to the 1950’s!
At the center of this shift that has affected every aspect of life in this region, Glenn Kranzley has been the eyes of Northampton County and connected to the pulse of the area’s evolution and growth.
As a retired reporter for the Bethlehem Globe-Times and a page editor for The Morning Call, Kranzley has finalized a 65-year review of the changes that have come to Northampton County. Entitled “Still Changing, Still Home: Northampton County Since the 1950s”, this impressive work was completed on behalf of the Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society to update a past publication released in 1950.
Through his research and writing, Kranzley found joy in taking the time to delve deep into the culture and history of the region, and his work focused on several key changes that have taken place in Northampton County since the 1950s:
Shifting Economies—The Change from Manufacturing to Service
Bethlehem Steel was the king of the area back in the ‘50s. The manufacturing industry as a whole accounted for 47% of jobs in the Lehigh Valley in 1960, while Bethlehem Steel employed ten-times the workers as the next-largest company.
However, times were changing, and the manufacturing industry couldn’t keep up with the shift in economics. By the 1970s, the region was evolving towards a focus on the service industry—with Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s University Health Network now being the leading employers in the area.
The Growth of Suburbs and the Population
Back in the 1950s, one of the dominating features of the Northampton County landscape was fields, farms, and uninhabited greenery. Like many cities in the modern age, those green spaces have slowly disappeared to host suburban communities, shopping centers, and roadways. At the center of this drive to expand housing and commerce in the area is a growing population, and the 2000 census showed that Northampton County is now home to over 267,000 residents.
A Push Towards Equality and Environmental Protection
In many ways, challenges with racial and socioeconomic equality across the country were as prevalent in the 1960s as they are today—another issue that is examined throughout the course of Kranzley’s book. While the 1970s saw discord within the region due to alleged police discrimination, similar issues continue to make headlines today as Northampton County continues to push towards peace and equality.
Kranzley also highlights another important issue that near to the hearts of those within the Lehigh Valley area—environmental protections. Within his publication, he takes the time to include the biographies of three leaders within the movement to protect our natural environment, including the legendary Gertrude Fox.
Moving Towards the Future With Your Northampton County Movers
They say that the only way to create a better future is to understand where we came from, and Kranzley has played an integral role in bringing to light the rich, diverse, and evolutionary changes that have come to the Northampton County region since the 1950s.
At O’Brien’s Moving & Storage, we’re a local Northampton County moving company that has been a part of this community since 1947, and we’ve seen first-hand the way that the area has evolved and grown to support the thriving cities here today. Over the years, our Northampton County movers have provided everything from simple local moves to complex, long-distance relocations, and we strive to deliver the best in modern service and old-fashioned values to every customer that we serve.
If you’d like to learn more about how O’Brien’s can assist with your next relocation in or out of Northampton County, give us a call today. You can also fill out our online form now to request more information and a free, no-obligation estimate.