Watercolor… “The Hub of Allentown”… 8th & Hamilton Streets. The Allentown and Bethlehem Rapid Transit Company was founded in 1891 to replace earlier, horse drawn trolley service in Allentown. Competition between several budding, short line, light rail companies, culminated in 1893 with the creation and dominance of the Allentown and Lehigh Valley Traction Company… becoming the collective Lehigh Valley Traction Company in 1899. Following some financial distress, the company was reorganized and reborn as the Lehigh Valley Transit Company (LVT) around 1907. Routes grew and by 1913, following completion of the Allentown 8th Street bridge (Albertus L. Meyers Bridge), LVT corporate and ticket offices were relocated to the S.B. Anewalt Company building, located on the Southwest corner of the 8th & Hamilton Streets intersection… until moved to offices across the street. At the height of its preeminence, the Allentown based, Lehigh Valley Transit provided passenger and freight services over electrified routes strung between Slatington, Philadelphia and Easton, Pennsylvania. However, the traveling public’s purchase, preference and use of privately owned automobiles, following World War II, doomed the railroad and the trolley’s slow demise came to a quiet end in 1953, as the LVT transitioned to autobus service.
Two Lehigh Valley Transit cars survive in LVT paint; an incomplete 800 Series car (#801), under restoration in predecessor Lehigh Valley Traction, “Chrome Green” colors at the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania and an operating “Liberty Bell Limited” 1000 series car (#1030) in “Picador Cream” at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. Over the ensuing years, the Anewalt Building was slowly stripped of its grandeur, covered over with false facades and finally demolished in 2017 to clear the site for the new, 200-foot tall, Five City Center, Office Tower, redevelopment project, owned by and now occupied by the ADP company.
… Illustrated… circa 1930… a pair of LVT refitted, “Tuscan Red” Jewett Car Company 800 series, interurban streetcars, on the left with the updated rooftop ventilation system, and an older St. Louis Car Company trolley… board and disembark commuting passengers next to the Lehigh Valley Transit Company Ticket Office at 8th & Hamilton Streets, Allentown. The LVT shops continually modified, upgraded and refined all of their cars to keep them relevant, efficient and operational.