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History of Firefighting in Bethlehem: LST Historical Society Talk

November 8, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

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The public is invited to attend “Firefighting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1741–1917,” on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017 at 7 p.m. at Seidersville Hall, 3700 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bethlehem, PA 18015.

Credit: Perseverance Publishing, LLC/Amazon.com

The history of firefighting in Bethlehem from 1741 to 1917 is the subject of a new book, which authors Chris Eline, Nancy Rutman and Karen Samuels will discuss at a free talk Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. at Seidersville Hall.

The newly-released book Firefighting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1741–1917 tells the story of how a town battled the elements—and won. It is the first of its kind, with many never-before-seen photographs. The story begins with the bucket brigades of the Moravian community during the Colonial period, which were soon supplemented with two of the country’s earliest fire engines. It tracks the path of the town’s expansion to include the four boroughs that would eventually merge to form the modern City of Bethlehem—Bethlehem, South Bethlehem, West Bethlehem and Northampton Heights. Each of these boroughs had a separate fire department, made up mostly of volunteers. Water supplies and water pressure were unreliable, equipment frequently failed, funding was scarce and unpaved streets were often impassable. This book illustrates how Bethlehem’s early firefighters overcame each of these challenges and more with courage, humor and camaraderie.

The authors, Chris Eline, Nancy Rutman and Karen Samuels, will discuss their research for the book and present a slideshow about Bethlehem firefighting. They will have signed copies of the book for sale.

About the authors:

Chris Eline is a local historian and firefighter for the Bethlehem Fire Department for 24 years. He quickly developed a reputation as the “curator” of the department’s history, photos and artifacts. Eline has created display cases of these items, which are located throughout the city.

Nancy Rutman discovered an interest in American history as a teenager, during the nation’s bicentennial in 1976. She began assembling a collection of historical postcards, books, photographs and ephemera that tell the story of the Lehigh Valley region. She is a book designer, copy editor and publication production specialist.

Karen Samuels is an author of seven books on Bethlehem area history and a Keystone Press Award-winning newspaper columnist. She became involved with the efforts to restore a one-room schoolhouse in Lower Saucon Township and found that she had a love for historical research.

Courtesy photo

Authors Nancy Rutman, Chris Eline and Karen Samuels

The Lower Saucon Township Historical Society is sponsoring the talk. Admission is free, and light refreshments will be available.

For more information please email lshistorical@yahoo.com or call 610-625-8771.


November 8, 2017
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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Seidersville Hall
3700 Old Philadelphia Pike
Bethlehem, PA 18015 United States
+ Google Map
(610) 625-8771

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