Come out on December 7th to fete the new Northampton County history book! Press and public reception from 4:00-6:00 pm with light refreshments.
Northampton County has a new official history, its first in 64 years. The book, researched and written by veteran newspaper journalist Glenn Kranzley of Hellertown, is a publication of Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society (NCHGS).
Titled Still Changing, Still Home: Northampton County Since the 1950, the work is a comprehensive report on all aspects of life in the county. It explains how local government, institutions of education, the economy and the makeup of the population itself have changed. It also probes the ways that transportation, entertainment and culture, sports and religion have evolved over the decades. Dozens of photographs, many not published before, help to tell the story.
Among the key developments that the book examines:
- A shift in the economy from heavy industrial manufacturing to service, logistics and retail employers
- The creation of modern, open forms of government in Bethlehem, Easton and at the county level
- Vast improvement in water quality in the Lehigh River and reduction of air pollution
- Amid the loss of farmland due to commercial and residential development, an agriculture industry whose farms are fewer, but larger and more productive
- The schools have seen major changes and the public supported the creation of a new institution of higher learning, Northampton Community College, whose enrollment exceeded expectations every year
The project was funded by Northampton County Council. The county also paid for the last official history, a 1953 book entitled Northampton Heritage: The Story of an American County, by E. Gordon Alderfer.
In 2010, former County Executive and County Councilman Gerald Seyfried suggested to County Council that the county’s history be brought into the 21st century. The project was entrusted to NCHGS, which had also published the 1953 book.
NCHGS appointed Dr. Linda Heindel, a volunteer and former Moravian College dean, to coordinate the project and gather a committee of historians and community leaders to guide and supervise the writing of the book. The committee then engaged Kranzley to undertake the extensive research and writing.
Kranzley said, “I was well-versed in the idea that newspapers write “the first draft of history,’ so it was an honor to be able to write a new draft.” He relied on nearly 100 interviews with people who were leaders or who observed civic life over the decades. “It was a godsend that people who were involved with government or other institutions going back to the 1950s still were alive and willing to be interviewed. It’s bittersweet, however, that several people I talked to died before we got to our publication date.”
The book is printed in soft ($14.99) and hardcover ($22.99) editions. It will be available in local libraries and for purchase at the Sigal Museum and bookstores.
Mr. Kranzley is also available to give talks to various groups and organizations. To arrange a talk, please contact Carey Birgel, Executive Director, Sigal Museum, at 610-253-1222 or email@example.com.