BAPL Local HistoryMen of South BethlehemCentral Moravian ChurchBethlehem Steel
Local History at the Bethlehem Area Public Library

First Annual Message of Archibald Johnston, 1918  [continued]

From the municipal standpoint, the concentration of industrial activity with its accompanying dense population within small areas, is a comparative modern phenomenon, and hence the problems incident thereto are comparatively new.

Originally, the towns of the Lehigh Valley sprang up as places of residence and trade of those who devoted themselves to the commercial occupations made necessary by the agricultural character and economic conditions of the country round about.

Later, industrial developments characterized the growth, and, of course, religious and educational motives were also causes for concentration of population in the towns, as is evidenced by our churches, universities, seminaries, colleges and schools; but the controlling motives were the economic ones of trade and industry.

Trade was impossible without transportation, so important lines of communication, such as turnpikes, canals and railroads, were established. The growth of the towns attracted and diverted the individual from the soil and there was immigration from foreign countries as well as migration from the rural districts of Lehigh and Northampton Counties. The result is that today a larger urban than rural population is a normal and permanent economic condition.

The differences, in nativity, language, religion, morals and general habits which now obtain make the population one of extreme heterogeneity, segregated for economic production and distribution, and in general, the tendency has been toward economy and convenience of work without due regard to convenience of living.

 

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