Pennsylvania: Northampton County

Northampton County (pop. 297,735) is on the eastern border of Pennsylvania, across the Delaware River from New Jersey. The only other Northampton counties are in North Carolina and Virginia.

The county seat of Northampton County is the city of Easton (pop. 26,800), at the eastern end of the Lehigh Valley, just east of the larger cities of Allentown and Bethlehem, at the confluence of the Lehigh and Delaware rivers.

Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument

Easton is the home of Lafayette College, a private, liberal arts school with about 2,500 students.

Established in 1826

Heavyweight boxer Larry Holmes, heavyweight champion in the late 1970s and early 1980s, grew up in Easton.

“The Easton Assassin”

The State Theatre in Easton dates from 1927. It now hosts a variety of concerts, plays, and more.

1,500 seats

Forks Township, just north of Easton, is the headquarters of Crayola. The Crayola Experience, in Easton, is a museum and visitor center.

West of Easton is the city of Bethlehem (pop. 74,982), seventh-largest city in Pennsylvania, located partly in Lehigh County. Bethlehem is the home of Lehigh University, a private research university with about 7,000 students.

Founded in 1865

Bethlehem was settled by Moravians (from today’s Czech Republic), and is the home of Moravian College (established 1742), a private, liberal arts college with about 1,700 students. It’s the sixth-oldest college in the country.

Bethlehem was the headquarters of Bethlehem Steel, America’s second-largest steel producer (after U.S. Steel in Pittsburgh) and largest shipbuilder. Bethlehem Steel closed in 2003.

Current use of the site includes a casino.

The candy company Just Born, maker of the popular Easter candy Peeps, is in Bethlehem. It’s a family-owned company, started in 1923 by Russian immigrant Sam Born.

Dropping a giant Peep on New Year’s Eve

Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson played football at Freedom High School in Bethlehem.

Later at U of Miami

Ten miles from Bethlehem is Nazareth. Auto racer Mario Andretti (born 1940) grew up in Nazareth after his family immigrated from the Kingdom of Italy (now Croatia).

The song “The Weight,” on The Band’s 1968 album “Music from Big Pink,” is set in Nazareth. (“I pulled into Nazareth, was feeling ’bout half past dead.”)