Catasauqua became a very self sufficient community. It was mostly laid out by David Thomas similar to furnace towns in Wales, with block upon block of workers homes and a few stores and businesses, linked to the small community of Biery’s Port. But as more furnaces were built and more and more industry was added, commerce expanded with corner groceries, bakeries, clothing emporiums, boot & shoe shops, cigar stores, tin shops, ice cream and confectionary shops, tailors and milliners, blacksmith and buggy shops. For 100 years, residents of Catasauqua didn’t need to leave town for anything. It wasn’t until the malls came to Whitehall that Catasauqua lost its Front St businesses.
Pre-1900, the business district was on the lower end of Front St, starting at Biery’s Port and extending up to what is now the 400 Block of Front St, across from the Crane Iron. Around 1900, a foundry, that was on the SW corner of Front & Pine, moved to West Race St, below the Crane. About the same time, a flood had destroyed the Crane Iron’s bridge across the Lehigh, leaving the town with only the toll bridge at Race for crossing over to Whitehall. With the decision to build a bridge across the river at Pine St, and the opening of the area around Pine for development, banks and other businesses relocated further up Front St, building a new business center at Bridge St.
These pages on Catasauqua history are provided and maintained by the Historic Catasauqua Preservation Association