In 1736 Thomas Penn, son of William Penn, and Benjamin Eastburn, surveyor general, selected and surveyed the “Thousand Acre Tract” of land at the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers. William Parsons and Nicholas Scull began their survey for a town in the 1750s at a spot called by the Indians “Lechanwitauk” or “the Place at the Forks.” The new town was to be called “Easton” in the new county of “Northampton.” The Great Square (now known as Centre Square) was, and remains, a gathering place for residents and travelers. In fact, on July 8,1776, the square was the site for one of only three readings of the Declaration of Independence. This historic event is celebrated each year on Heritage Day, when thousands gather to join in reenactments of the reading and to revel in entertainment, good food, and fireworks over the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers. 

With the completion of the Lehigh Canal in 1829, the lands along the Lehigh River attracted great industrial development. The movement of the coal brought capital & investment to Easton. All along Canal Street was built one of the largest industrial manufacturing centers of America during the 1830s and 40s. Easton continued to prosper as a center for industry, manufacturing, commerce, and culture at the Forks of the Delaware and along the great rail lines. 

The Easton Historic District is an example of a relatively intact Victorian commercial center. Although the District contains historically and architecturally significant buildings from almost all periods of its development, edifices completed between 1830 and 1910 dominate its streetscapes. This period saw Easton’s prosperity at its height, due to its position at the junction of three major canals and five important railroads. 

The Easton Historic District is situated on a peninsula that is generally bounded by the Bushkill Creek to the north, the Delaware River to the east and the Lehigh River to the south. The western limits of the District are marked by the crest of a series of hills. The integrity of the Easton Historic District is highlighted by the fact that only twenty of its 425 buildings can be considered to be intrusions. 

Our walking tour will start in Centre Square, laid out in a grid pattern by William Parsons at the center of the city. The square has been the site of a courthouse for over 100 years, the place of that historic public airing of the Declaration of Independence, the location of important Indian Councils during the French and Indian War and a farmers’ market that has been operating since 1791... 

Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument 
Centre Square, 3rd and Northampton streets 

The tall 75-foot shaft, erected in 1899 and dedicated a year later on the site of Northampton County’s first courthouse, was dedicated to the area’s Civil War dead. 


Alpha Building
1 S 3rd Street

The Beaux Arts-style Alpha Building was built by and named for the Alpha Portland Cement Company. The company vacated the nine-story building in the late 1970s and the building stood vacant for many years. In the early 1990s the City entered into a partnership with Roberts & Co. to rehabilitate the structure and re-located City Hall offices from 650 Ferry Street in 1995. 

Bixler’s Jewelers
24 Centre Square

Bixler’s Jewelers has the distinction of being America’s oldest jewelers. Revolutionary War veteran Christian Bixler III opened what would ultimately become the first Bixler’s Jewelers, a jewelry store in Easton back in 1785. The business remains in the family today. 

Easton National Bank
316 Northampton Street

The Easton National Bank and Trust Company was chartered back in 1814; this Art Deco-influenced building dates to 1929. 


Pomfret Club
33 S 4th Street, corner of Pine Street

John O. Wagner was born in 1832 into a prominent family of mill owners. His great-grandfather, Judge David Wagner, established a mill on Bushkill Creek in 1776 and became one of Easton’s largest landowners. John Wagner operated two 3-story mills on Bushkill Creek. These were first built in 1870 to make paint but in 1882 were converted to producing soapstone (for paper), talc, and asbestos pulp. He inherited this property and erected a proper Second Empire mansion in the late 1860s. In 1895, the Pomfret Club purchased the Wagner Mansion. The Pomfret Club is the oldest private club in the Lehigh Valley. It was first organized as “The Crypt” (or the “Crypt Club”) on 13 March 1885, meeting in the basement to the annex building to the United States Hotel then located on North Third Street. It was “a purely social club for Easton’s gentlemen,” devoted primarily to whist and conversation, with 35 members. 

Pine Street, between 4th and 8th streets

During the Prohibition Era of the 1920s Pine Street was lined with brothels and had a reputation in the United States Navy that stretched from coast to coast. Enough partygoers came to Easton from New York City that it was known as the “Little Apple.” 


George Taylor House
northeast corner of 4th Street and Ferry Street 

Born in 1716, probably in northern Ireland, George Taylor came to Pennsylvania as an indentured servant in 1736. He was put to work as a clerk at the Warwick Iron Furnace and Coventry Forge in Chester County, and by 1739 had become manager of this 1796-acre plantation. In 1742 he married Anne Taylor Savage, widow of the ironmaster for whom Taylor had been working. About 1757 Taylor moved to the Durham Furnace in Bucks County, which he and a partner leased. From 1757 to 1778 Taylor’s business interests were to be largely centered on the 8,511-acre Durham plantation, which was located about 10 miles south of Easton. After 1763, however, Taylor lived much of the time at or near Easton which became the scene of his political activities. Sent to the Pennsylvania Assembly in October 1775, Taylor served with distinction on important committees and helped draft instructions to delegates to the Continental Congress in November. On July 20, 1776, Taylor was appointed to the Continental Congress to replace the Pennsylvania delegates who refused to sign the Declaration of Independence. Taylor signed the engrossed copy of that document on August 2 but took no other part in the activities of Congress, except to represent it, with George Walton, at a conference with Indians at Easton in January 1777. Taylor evidently quit Congress soon afterward. He died in this house in 1781, as had William Parsons, a founder of Easton, 24 years earlier. 

Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church
55 South Fourth Street, southeast corner of Ferry Street

The Our Lady of Lebanon congregation began in 1901 and until 1916, they attended Mass at St. Bernard’s, St. Joseph’s, and St. Anthony’s, which was a small chapel located above Gazzetta’s garage on South Bank Street. It’s priest, Father John Dario, was sent by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to administer to the Italian people and to build a church. They purchased an old Jewish synagogue at 321 Lehigh Street and demolished it in 1915. With the help of the parishioners, the new St. Anthony’s church was completed in 1916. Three years after the mortgage on the church on Lehigh street was retired in 1966 the redevelopment authority destroyed it. Our Lady of Lebanon was relocated to 4th and Ferry streets, and the rectory to 54 South 4th street. 

Northampton County Historical Society (Ilick House/Mixsell House) 
107 S 4th Street, northwest corner of Ferry Street

This Federal style building was constructed for Jacob Mixsell in 1833. A cast iron grape-sculpted fence borders the property. A granddaughter was married to Colonel Charles A. Wickoff, who was killed during the assault on San Juan Hill in Cuba. He was the highest ranking American officer to die in the Spanish American War. The family donated the house to the Northampton County Historical & Genealogical Society in 1928. 


10. Jacob Nicholas House
southeast corner of Ferry Street and 5th Street 

The Jacob Nicholas House is named for its first resident, who lived there from 1807 until 1832. Nicholas was a wood turner when he purchased the property, but later became a Durham boat captain. Durham boats carried freight between Easton and Philadelphia on the Delaware River. They were put out of business in the 1830s by the new canals. The house was occupied until 1961.  


St. Bernard’s Church
132 S 5th Street 

St. Bernard’s Church, founded in 1829 with 100 members, is the oldest Catholic parish in the Lehigh Valley. Members first met at 151 South Fifth Street until the dedication of the church and adjoining cemetery on Gallows Hill in 1836. The first church was re-built after a fire in 1867. North of church is the rectory, a Second Empire-style townhouse built in 1847. 


Boyer Building
southwest corner of 5th Street and Northampton Street

Named for Harry J. Boyer, who operated a firm of hatters here in the 1880s, the building has also been used as the offices of Easton’s Mayor and Treasurer, and during the 1870s as a newspaper office. Note the ornate roof cornice and stone corner quoins, trademarks of the Italianate style, popular with commercial buildings at that time. 


Hooper House
northwest corner of 5th Street and Northampton Street

This was the home of Col. Robert L. Hooper, Jr., one of three superintendents of the Continental Army magazines during the Revolutionary War. He also served as the Deputy Commissary of Transportation for General Sullivan’s 1779 expedition that marked the demise of the Iroquois Confederacy in America. Although not generally regarded to be true, some local tradition holds this stone building, partially encased in brickote, is the oldest in Easton, predating the Bachmann Publick House down the street. 

Rock Church of Easton
20 N 5th Street 

Built in 1852 for the First Reformed Dutch Church, the clock tower is out of proportion to the rest of the building because the City gave funds to house the town clock. It was also rumored that the plans were in inches but the tower was constructed using the metric system. In 1868, it became the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and later the Easton Bible Church, the Eastern Star Temple and the Easton Assembly of God Church. Since 1981, it has been the home of the nondenominational Rock Church. 

Easton Area Public Library
515 Church Street at the northwest corner of N 5th Street

The library was one of hundreds of libraries funded across the nation by industrialist Andrew Carnegie in the early 1900s. The Beaux Arts-style building was constructed with a $50,000 grant from Carnegie’s foundation that also funded a 1913 addition. The library was built atop a graveyard of the German Reformed and Lutheran Church. Most of the bodies were removed but 30 were not claimed by family members and were placed in a burial vault on the site. The two most noted figures interred in the burial ground were William Parsons, surveyor general of Pennsylvania, and Elizabeth Bell ‘Mammy’ Morgan, a folk healer, from Williams Township. The library displays the American flag from when Declaration of Independence read in Easton.


Heckman’s Oyster Bar
southeast corner of 5th Street and Northampton Street 

Now covered in modern brickote facing, this building was Heckman’s Oyster Bar during the Civil War. 

Phyl’s Theatre Vue Antiques
466 Northampton Street 

This building was once the Boas Beer Saloon and German Emigrant Boarding House, which pretty much says it all. 

Golden Swan Hotel
460 Northampton Street 

The 4-1/2 story red brick building with cream decorative window trim (third from the corner) is the Golden Swan Hotel, opened at the time of the Revolutionary War, and operated through the 19th Century as simply The Swan. It was extensively remodeled in 1906 as the Hotel Stirling. 

State Theatre
453 Northampton Street

While the granite facade and foyer are original, the rest of the building was demolished in 1910 for construction of the Neumeyer Theater, presenting vaudeville shows and silent films. In 1914 it was renamed the Colonial Theatre and began running silent films accompanied only by an orchestra. Noted theater architect William H. Lee redesigned the now State Theatre as a vaudeville palace, drawing upon the architecture of old Spain and the Davanzanti Place in Florence, Italy. The State hosted Milton Berle, Fatty Arbuckel, Eddie Foy, magician Harry Blackstone, and ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. It was remodeled again in 1929 to showcase first run movies, sometimes run in connection with big bands or revues. Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra both sang at the State. The building was restored by a citizens group in 1985–1990, and continues to hold a full theatrical season each year. 

Lawall Drugstore Building
437 Northampton Street

Cyrus Lawall started business in 1851 next to William Lawall’s Store and moved into this building in 1871. He ultimately became the President of the Northampton County National Bank. During his funeral in 1892, local merchants closed all of the business buildings on the 400 block as a mark of their respect. 

Clemens House
433 Northampton Street 

The Clemens House is named after physician B. Clemens who practiced in Easton at the time of the Civil War. Maurice Clemens became a “musician of Easton,” a choral leader, and in 1902 was elected the Captain of Company I of the 13th Regiment, Pennsylvania National Guard. 

Werner Building
432 Northampton Street 

The 3-story white brick Victorian with elaborate buttressed roof cornice is the Werner Building, built in the early 1900s for watchmaker William Werner. William ultimately branched out into jewelry, luxury goods, and specially designed pianos, as well as becoming the nation’s first wholesaler for Thomas Edison’s new phonograph machines. The Werner business continued in this location until 1970. 

Odenwelder Building
404 Northampton Street

Odenwelder’s Drug Store was begun under a prior owner’s name in 1824 and acquired by Asher J. Odenwelder, Sr. in 1871. It later moved to a small frame house at this location. The present ornate building was built by Asher J. Odenwelder, Jr. after 1905. 

Latino Heat
411 Northampton Street 

At age 13 Larry Holmes quit school to help support his family and worked as a shoe shine boy, learning to box at a local Easton gym. At age 23, Holmes beat Rodell Dupree in his first professional bout. He went on to compile a record of 68-5, including 41 knockouts while reigning as Heavyweight Champion of the World from 1978 to 1985. This location is where he began his club in Easton. 

Rosenbaum Building
407 Northampton Street

The striking 6-1/2-story building was named for milliner Levi Rosenbaum, who established his business here in the 1870s. 

Old Newspaper Building
403 Northampton Street 

The 6-story cream brick building is the Old Newspaper Building. In the late 1850s the first floor held the office of the Northampton Correspondent; the second floor housed the Easton Argus; and on the third floor were briefly located the offices of the fledgling Easton Daily Express. A mural in the upper windows of this building reflects the Northampton National Bank Building across the street. The mural was painted by Easton artists Donna Thatcher and Kim Hogan. 

Pomp/Bixler Building
401 Northampton Street

The Pomp/Bixler Building is a small 4-story brick building with a dental cornice. Peter Pomp operated the P. Pomp “Pure Drugs” store there by the 1850s. The Bixlers acquired the building from the Pomp family in 1919, and briefly used it for their “oldest jewelry store in America,” which moved to Centre Square in 1925. After their brief tenure, the The “Bixler Building” legend was placed above the Fourth Street entrance. 

Northampton National Bank
400 Northampton Street 

This 7-story, Beaux-Arts building, with a mural of Labor in the foyer, now houses The Morning Call Easton Bureau and other businesses. It was opened in 1909, when the Bank moved to this address from the building that has now become the State Theatre. 


Easton Daily Express 
30 N 4th Street 

First printed 1855 as The Easton Daily Express, the name changed to The Easton Express in 1917 and was abbreviated to The Express in 1973. 

Bell Telephone Building
47 N 4th Street 

This was the site of the former White Horse Hotel; the Art Deco-style building dates to 1929 and was used as a telephone switch exchange. 


Hotel Lafayette
northeast corner of 4th Street and Northampton Street 

This somewhat faded hotel stands on property that once was the location of a frontier home and tavern, owned by Jacob Hoffman, that may have occupied the north part of this site as early as 1728, well before the town of Easton was founded. The first well in Easton was built on this site in 1752. A stone house and tavern was built on the site in 1754. This tavern became Jacob Opp’s Inn during the Revolutionary War, and was the residence of Continental Army officers during the time of General Sullivan’s campaign. A hostelry has operated on the site ever since that time, although the building may have been remodeled. 

Lafayette Ambassador Bank
southeast corner of 4th Street and Northampton Street 

The Lafayette Ambassador Bank was founded in 1922 and this Neoclassical building went up in 1933 during the Great Depression when many banks were closing across the country. It is still in operation today. 

Dauphin Deposit Trust Company
62 Centre Square 

The main floor of this historic building houses the famous Carmelcorn Shop, open since 1931. The third floor of this building was seriously damaged by a fire on October 18, 2006. The fire was started by workmen removing paint with a blowtorch. It was estimated the fire caused about $500,000 in damages to the historic structure. 

Detweiler Building
52 Centre Square 

The Detweiler Building dates back to 1824. The building houses retail shops on the main floor and apartments above. The Victorian style house was constructed for Henry Detwiller, born in Switzerland, who was a doctor and advocate of preventive medicine. He lived in this house, later enlarged and modified, until 1887. 


The Huntington
58 Centre Square 

This commercial building and apartment house, formerly a hotel was renovated in 1910 by architect William Michler. He was born and raised on College Hill and attended Lafayette College and the University of Pennsylvania. Known for eclectic style, he masterfully incorporated Victorian and American Arts and Crafts elements into his designs. Michler built or renovated over 60 residences, primarily on College Hill. He also designed approximately 20 public buildings in Easton and the surrounding area. 

Quadrant Bookshop
20 N 3rd Street 

This house dates to the mid-1800s when it was constructed by the Ennis family and later subdivided for small businesses. In 1976, when the building was slated for demolition. Opposition spawned the creation of Historic Easton, Inc., now known as the Easton Heritage Alliance. 

First United Church of Christ
27 N 3rd Street

The First United Church of Christ, formerly the German Reformed Church, was built in 1775. During the Revolutionary War, this church served as a hospital and was visited by George Washington. It was also the site of the Indian Treaty Conference of 1777. The church has a Star of David in honor of Meyer Hart, Easton’s first Jewish citizen and a contributor to the original church building fund. 

Simon Mansion
41 N 3d Street

 The mansion was built in the early 1900s, at a cost of $250,000, for Herman Simon, a wealthy silk manufacturer. The Simon mansion was designed by William Michler in the High Renaissance French Chateau style. The exterior is graced with Indiana limestone, granite base, and a red Vermont Slate roof with cooper ornamentation. Directly adjacent, Simon built a home for his daughter. Massive cast iron gates remain, which once led to the formal gardens. Carved images of Simon’s wife and daughter are still distinguishable on pillars outside the mansion. 

northeast corner of N 3rd Street and Spring Garden Street

The original Easton brick YMCA has been restored and converted to apartments. 


First Presbyterian Church
333 Spring Garden Street 

The First Presbyterian Church is the “mother” church from which all other Presbyterian Churches in Easton and Phillipsburg are descended, either directly or indirectly. The congregation traces its roots back to 1811 when 43 citizens petitioned the Presbytery of New Brunswick, New Jersey for the establishment of a Presbyterian Church in the Borough of Easton.  


Trinity Episcopal Church
234 Spring Garden Street 

Episcopalian church services were held in congregants’ homes until 1798, when Samuel Sitgreaves donated the land for the construction of a church on this site. The existing building, dates to 1876, replaced the original church which was destroyed by fire. Designed by William Haight, the Stone Gothic Revival architecture is graced with a battlemented bell tower, rose window, and other stained glass by Nicholas D’Ascenzo of Philadelphia. The floor is Mercer tile from the Moravian Tile works in Doylestown.  

St. Michael’s Lithuanian Roman Catholic Church
219 Spring Garden Street 

Founded in 1916 by immigrants from Lithuania, St. Michael’s and St. Bernard’s (132 South Fifth Street) congregations have shared a pastor since 1964. The building, built in 1852, was originally home to the Brainerd Presbyterian Church. After a merger of Brainerd Presbyterian with First Presbyterian Churches, the building was converted to a club for Civil War Veterans called Heptasoph Hall that had a bowling alley and billiard parlor on the first floor. 

217 Spring Garden Street 

This Federal-style house from 1830 with Victorian alterations was reportedly home for Woodrow Wilson’s father while he was a Presbyterian minister at the adjacent Brainerd Presbyterian Church. 

Howard Riegel House
214 Spring Garden Street

Benjamin and Barbara Riegel built this house for their son Howard and his wife. The communities of Riegelsville, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, were named for the family that founded the Riegel Paper Company with several mills near the Delaware River south of Easton. The Federal Revival style building was built in 1909 by William Michler and has two Tiffany sky light windows and a Tiffany window in a bathroom that faces Spring Garden Street. 

208 Spring Garden Street 

In 1880, M. McCartney and her sister L.D. Maxwell lived here.  

Floyd Bixler House
206 Spring Garden Street 

Floyd S. Bixler, resident here in the 1880s until after 1920, was the great-grandson of jeweler Christian Bixler III, who founded the Easton Bixler dynasty, grandson of jeweler William Bixler, and son of jeweler J. Elwood Bixler. Unlike his forebearers, however, Floyd S. Bixler’s firm, Bixler & Correll, was in the wholesale dry goods trade. Floyd Bixler was also an Easton historian, writing (among other things) a history of Easton’s early taverns, and a history of the Bixler family. 

204 Spring Garden Street

This Victorian Romanesque style house (built circa 1900) was constructed for the Bixler/ Laubauch family. There are Fatur stained glass bay windows on west side. 


Dr. Florence Seibert birthplace
73 N 2nd Street 

This was the birthplace of scientist Florence Seibert in 1897, who, in a long list of achievements, developed a reliable test for tuberculosis that is still in use today. 

Governor Wolf School Building
45 North 2nd Street 

Until the mid 1800s, Easton’s children were taught at home or at church. Built in 1893, theGovernor Wolf School building has elaborate yellow Roman brickwork, stained glass windows, a bell tower and a spiral staircase in the left tower. The stone entry, called Penny Arch, is topped by a marble globe of the world paid for by school children’s pennies. The Wolf Building now houses Northampton County Human Services. The former school on North Second Street was named for Governor Wolf of Easton, founder of the Pennsylvania Free Public School System and proponent of the 1834 School Act. The Act was zealously supported by Wolf but was met with great resentment by the local German population, who feared that formal instruction would be in English. The farming population also opposed the act because adults needed the children at home for chores. The loss of church-based education added hostility. Had it not been for Wolf’s determination, the act may have been repealed. It did, however, cost him his bid for re-election. 

Benjamin Riegel Mansion
44 N 2nd Street

This Flemish Revival-style house was built in 1902, reportedly from the pen of architect Stanford White of the fabled firm of McKim, Mead & White of New York. Benjamin and Barbara Riegel had a house built for their son and his wife around the corner at 214 Spring Garden Street. 

Library Hall
32 N 2nd Street

Philadelphia Federal Style architecture with late Victorian bracketed cornices proudly announces Library Hall, site of Easton’s first library. Located at the northwest corner of Second and Church Streets, Library Hall was built in 1811, and like most of the city’s older buildings, is fully functional and in commercial use. 


Bachmann Tavern
northeast corner of Northampton and Second streets 

The Bachmann Tavern is the oldest building remaining in the City. The land deed was secured from the Penns on November 17, 1754 by John Bachmann, its builder. The building served as a tavern and long time residence of George Taylor, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The tavern was visited by George Washington and Ben Franklin. It was, like many taverns, a social center of colonial times, and often served as a courtroom until the original courthouse was completed in 1765. Some 70% of the building’s original fabric is intact. The upper windows are original, as is the interior. In 1991 the stucco was removed from the exterior, revealing the date marker of 1753. 

Hotel Easton 140 Northampton Street

Built in 1926, “The Hotel Easton,” featured some of the day’s most contemporary architectural designs. Abandoned in 1989, the hotel remained closed for nearly a generation with significant damage on the interior and upper levels. In 2004, the building was acquired and renovated as a condominium with great care for the surviving historic features, while combining the upper levels’ 170 hotel rooms into 30 apartments. 

Northampton Street Bridge  

The first wooden bridge at this location was built in 1805. Celebrating its 100th birthday in 1996, the “free bridge” (there is no toll to cross), with its Gothic detail, is the last of its type in the United States and is a National Civil Engineering landmark.  


First United Methodist Church
34 S 2nd Street

The current brick church was built in the 1850s to replace an earlier one that was destroyed by fire. 

United States Post Office
201 Ferry Street, northwest corner of S 2nd Street

The 1910 Neoclassical Post Office was the site of a terrorist bombing on December 30, 1931, when a postal clerk became suspicious that a group of six packages contained liquor in violation of Prohibition. Upon opening one of the packages two postal clerks were killed when the package exploded. The packages were being sent to representatives of Mussolini’s fascist Italian government in the United States. No one was ever convicted of the crime. 


Phoenix Hose Company
219 Ferry Street 

In 1858 this building was constructed to house the Engine House No. 1 of the Phoenix Hose Company. The company acquired a house at 48 Sitgreaves as a fire engine driver’s residence. The property was bought by George Hellick Coffee in 1927 and converted to industrial use. It was converted into a restaurant in 1991. 


Sitgreaves’ Folly (East and West) 
237-241 Northampton Street

Samuel Sitgreaves was a lawyer; a Federalist Congressman from Pennsylvania; and from 1798 a Commissioner to Great Britain regarding British claims under the Jay Treaty. In addition, he was the first President of The Easton Bank, a leader of the campaign to build the Delaware River Bridge in 1806, and made crucial donations to found Easton’s Library Hall and the Easton Trinity Episcopal Church. The “Folly” took some five years to build standing three stories high with an “imposing central entrance of an old English design.” Sitgreaves lived here beginning in 1817 and died here in 1827.  

Jacob Mayer Building
1 Centre Square

This vintage Art Deco style building in marvelous shape was originally a men’s clothing store.