Historic Museums and Sites to Visit in Lehigh Valley

Lehigh Valley is teeming with history and culture evidenced by its wide array of museums, which have made their mark not just in Pennsylvania, but the whole nation. If you love old houses and buildings, antiques, and history, you definitely have to tour the following extraordinary places.

Moravian Museum of Bethlehem

moravian museum of bethlehemOriginally an apothecary (drugstore), the museum is a five-story log structure and is the largest 18th century log building in continuous use in the country. It was also the birthplace of the Father of American Mycology, Lewis David von Schweinitz. This National Historic Landmark now houses the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem. Visit the museum and learn the background behind the so-called Christmas City in Pennsylvania.

Address: 66 W Church St, Bethlehem, PA 18018

Phone: (610) 691-6055

Gemein Haus

A log cabin built entirely without nails, the Haus used to be the center of life in the early Moravian community. Thus, wherever the Moravians settled, they would first build the Gemein Haus before anything else. It’s the center of the community and the place where they worshiped in the Saal (meeting room). Single men and women were also welcome to live in the Gemein Haus.

Address: 66 W Church St, Bethlehem, PA 18018

Phone: (610) 867-0450

Moravian Pottery & Tile Works

In Doyslestown’s Moravian Pottery and Tile Works is where Henry Chapman Mercer created his crafts during the Arts and Crafts movement between 1880 and 1910. This National Historic Landmark is currently maintained as a “working history” museum, and until today, handmade tiles are still produced in the same way as Mercer did. If you’re renovating your home, you can opt to shop at the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works for their handmade reissues of tiles and mosaics that reflect the American Arts & Crafts tradition. Catalogues are also available for installations on kitchens, floors, walls, and fireplaces.

Address: 55 East Court Street, Doyslestown, PA 18901

Phone: (215) 348-6000

Ephrata Cloister

Founded in 1732 by German settlers with a spiritual mindset, the Ephrata Cloister has become one of the nation’s earliest religious communities. It housed more than 300 members, consisting of celibate brothers and sisters and a married congregation of families. Still in its original structure, Conrad Beissel’s House is one of the many surviving buildings at the Cloister. Another worthwhile house to visit is the Saron, the Sisters’ House, which was built for Householder couples who left their homes to live as celibate brothers and sisters.

Address: 632 W Main Street, Ephrata, PA 17522

Phone: (717) 733-6600

About the Author: Jay Miller’s passion is constructing houses, and he devotes his spare time studying older, historic structures around Lehigh Valley. He now owns his own design and build company called Jay Miller General Contractors, Inc., serving Lehigh Valley and the Hunterdon and Warren Counties in New Jersey.

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