Residences on Pine above Fourth
Address:606 Fifth St: Corner of Fifth & Pine
Name: Henry J. Seaman
Year built: 1898
Built by: Henry J. Seaman
Henry Seaman grew up in Bethlehem, went to Moravian Academy and graduated from Lehigh in 1879 with a degree in Chemistry. In 1880, Seaman succeeded Gayley as Chemist for the Crane Iron Works and became Furnace Manager in 1886. He built a home on Fourth St (See Chapman House). In 1889, Seaman moved to Parryville, PA as Superintendent of Carbon Iron and Steel Co and returned here in 1892 as an engineer for the Atlas Cement (followed by Superintendent, General Superintendent, then Director). He was general manager at the time Atlas received the contract to provide cement for the Panama Canal, worth $5.5 million, providing 4.5 million barrels of cement over a three year period. When he moved back, he lived in North Catasauqua for awhile, and then built this house. He retired in 1915 due to ill health.
Seaman was Instrumental in perfecting the rotary process of manufacturing Portland Cement and invented & commercialized a process of burning pulverized coal as fuel to make Portland Cement, which is still used today. He also served as VP and Gen Superintendent of New York & New England Cement and Lime Co.
He was active in the Engineers Club of New York, Railroad Club of New York, Livingston Club in Allentown, and Lehigh Country Club. He was a member of the AIME, American society for Testing Materials, and the American Concrete Institute.
He held a patent for rotary kiln cement production that overlapped patents obtained by Thomas Edison. Each patent was being using by competitors. The issue was resolved by the acquisition of both entity’s patents under one licensing association~ 1908.
He married Minnie Boyer and they had a daughter (married Paul Miller, Bryden) and son Harry J. (Bonny Valve), the later lived at 326 Bridge St. His parents were Henry J. Seaman and Maria, daughter of Charles Augustus Luchenbach: Luchenbach was a descendant of an old Moravian family, manager of the Bethlehem Flouring Mill, the first president of the Thomas Iron Co and an early director of the Bank of Catasauqua. Henry J. Sr was a businessman in Bethlehem and died in 1875. Minnie Boyer Seaman’s father, Reuben, was superintendent of mining for the Crane (died 1890).
Seaman lost the home during the depression, and it was converted into apts. Over the next couple decades, there were some interesting residents. Henry and Freda Prunaret, and their daughter Frances, lived here beginning in the late 1920s. Born in France in 1859 to a family already involved in silk manufacturing, he studied in Europe and brought his expertise here, working first in upstate NY, etc, before coming to this area. He owned a mill in Mauch Chunk, was president of the Stemton Silk Co, etc. Henry died in 1932 at age 74 and Fredericka died in 1940.
Queen Anne style features (turret) on otherwise solid, brick home. Different type windows on each level: 2nd story Romanesque windows, granite lintels. Arch motif repeated in door inscription & third story gables. Early photos show the top of the tower as an open observatory.
The inside reception hall features a beamed ceiling, oak woodwork, stained glass window, and Lincrusta wall covering. The dining room is wainscotted in oak and has a corner fireplace with inlaid green tile.
Seaman lost the home in the depression, and it was subsequently converted to apartments, which it remains today.
Address: 502 Pine St
Name: William & Minnie (Milson) Thomas, Jr.
Built by: George & Mary J. DaviesWm. R. Thomas, Jr. & Minnie (Milson) Thomas bought the property in 1909 for $ 12,500. Wm R. Thomas Jr. was a grandson of Hopkin Thomas, married to Minnie Milson, daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth (Davies) Milson, and nephew of James Thomas (545 4th). William Thomas, Jr.,was active in the Liberty Bond Sales of WW1, the Welcome Home Celebration of 1919, and creation of the Catasauqua Park and Playground at the bottom of Bridge St between American and St John Sts. (The Thomas field was named in Minnie’s honor). The Thomas’s donated the granite memorial tablet adjoining the Am Legion Post on 2nd St. William served as Burgess, was a member of the Porter Lodge, the Phoenix Fire Co, and the First Presbyterian Church. He was elected President of Wahnetah Silk (1907) after his brother’s death and was a Director of the National Bank of Catasauqua & Allentown Hospital.
The Thomas’ son went by the name of Butch based on the alias, Butch Kline, he assumed when he played semi-pro baseball in Philadelphia (his father didn’t approve).
In recognitiion of the role she played in the Liberty Bond drive, Minnie had the honor of christening the USS Lehigh at Hogg Island in 1919. The USS Lehigh fell victim to German U-boat 126 off the coast of Algeria on Oct. 19, 1941.
Thomas Weaver purchased the home from the Thomas estate in 1956 and lived there until 1977. His son Tom’s historical research has been helpful in maintaining Catasauqua’s historical records. More recent owners include Behringers, Remingtons, Hrinkovichs and Ferenchaks.
Other Site History:
The property was part of a large land acquisition by David Thomas, and went undeveloped until after his death. In 1899 the Thomas estate sold the land to Wm Glace, who resold it in 1905 to George Davies, Jr..
The home has been well maintained and remains a single family home. The outside of the home features a large wrap-around porch with in inlaid wood ceiling. Inside, the house has oak woodwork, parquet floors, an elegant formal dining room, and arts and craft touches.
Address: 520 Fifth St: SW Corner of Fifth & Pine
Name: Desiderius George Dery
Year built: 1901
Built by: D. George Dery
In 1919, Mr. Dery was the largest individual manufacturer of silk in the world – with 10,000 employees and 42 silk mills, including the mill on Race St built in 1897. He played a large role in making the Lehigh Valley a silk manufacturing center.Born in Austria and educated in Vienna, he came to America in 1887and started work as a superintendent of a silk mill in Paterson, NJ. In 1892 he built his own mill. In 1897, he chose Catasauqua as the location of his second mill (Wahnetah Silk Mill was already in operation here and there were other mills in Allentown) and moved his business and residence here the following year. The silk mills provided steady employment for women, which helped sustain families during the ups and downs of other industries or when their husbands became maimed or killed at work.
When Dery arrived in Catasauqua in 1897, he created quite a splash. And as his wealth grew, so did his residence and interests. He was considered a Renaissance Man. He had lavish parties and entertained many guests: politicians, foreign and American statesmen and diplomats, artists and entertainers. During WWI he held parties to support the Allied cause and purchased many war bonds to allay any thoughts that he might be a spy. He was a director of Catasauqua National Bank and Allentown National Bank, a member of Lehigh Country Club of Allentown, Northampton Country Club, Livingston Club of Allentown, Manhattan Club of NYC, Manufacturers’ Club of Philadelphia, and Elks Fraternity of Allentown.
He lost all of his wealth during a failed attempt to corner the world silk market and the following economic depression, but lived on in Catasauqua until just before his death in 1942. He moved across the street from his mansion into one of the homes built for his employees.
During WWII, air raid wardens were assigned to the Observatory on top of the mansion to monitor air traffic over the area. Bill Albert was one of the wardens. He retains the training materials from that time, which provided pictures and silhouettes of aircraft of the US, our allies and enemies. Wires carried signals from here down to the waterworks by the park, which would activate sirens at the Phoenix. If a siren was activated, everyone in town was to turn off all their lights.
The home was converted into apartments after Dery relinquished it as his residence. The lower levels became a rental hall for wedding receptions, the Dery Lounge. The lounge featured Moravian tiles on the floors and leaded glass windows.
An occupant of the home in the 50s was Dr. Ralph J. Minner, a dentist here beginning in 1916. He was a veteran of WWI and was very active in the community. During his term as president of the school board (1934-1939), the school built the swimming pool, bath house, pavilion and rest rooms at the Catasauqua Play Ground. While president of the Hanover-Catasauqua School Authority, the authority built the gymnasium in the school. He helped form the Boys Club here, was on the library board, a church council member at St Paul’s for 25 years, a director of the National Bank of Catasauqua and president of the Chamber of Commerce. His office was in the Edgar Building at 527 Front St.
The home was mostly restored to a single family dwelling by the Albert Moffa family in the 1980’s. The cost of maintaining the residence as a single family home proved to be too high for successive owners.
Originally a Georgian style home, it was altered and enlarged in 1917 in the Classic Revival style with Beaux Art influences to include an art gallery, ballroom, astronomical observatory, scientific research laboratory, solarium and indoor pool, modeled after the palaces the very rich built for themselves at Newport, R.I. There are extensive limestone decorative details, window sill lintels, dentil cornice, fluted columns and pilasters. The double doors open to a center hall with walls covered in marble, a marble fireplace and a magnificent 10X10 ft Tiffany style window at the top of the stairwell. A formal living room leads to a solarium. The formal dining room features wood paneling and leaded windows.
In 2006, the home was being converted into a Bed and Breakfast and wedding destination, when the building suffered significant water damage. Renovations were stopped and the owners were exploring other commercial development options during litigation. However, the property was put back up for sale. New owners are currently evaluting redevelopment.
The homes across the street from the Dery Mansion housed employees of the Dery Mansion after Dery arrived in town and expanded his holdings here. However, they existed before then. 517 Fifth was the home of Paul C.and Sarah Broadbeck: in 1891 he was elected asst supt of the Prudential Insurance Co. Som other residents listed in local directores were:
515: John and Susannah Zayots. John was an upholsterer. (1929/1930)
517: Benjamin H. Weaver: Civil war veteran, worked as a mining agent for Crane Iron and in mining operations. (1916; prev at 602 2nd). More TBA.
Address: 510-514 Pine St Example of Queen Anne style architecture common in the Catasauqua Residential Historic District.
510 Pine St, the home shown on the left, was the residence of Afflerbach, a State Representative from 1983 through 1986, State Senator from 1987 through 1998, and mayor of Allentown from 2002-2006. before the Afferbachs’, the Parmets lived here (1954-1985). The Joseph Parmet Co (1952-1978), maker of the One-Wipe dust cloth, was located on the IronWorks site. The Parmets purchased the home from Charlotte Haines in 1954 – her husband George passed away in 1953. At the time of his death, Mr.Haines was VP of the Philadelphia Bethlehem-New England RR, a subsid. of Bethlehem Steel. Dr. Ralph J.& Minnie Minner were here from 1923-1949: a dentist, he had his office on Front St.. They purchased the property in 1923 from Paul Miller.
Paul & Louise Miller purchased the home from the Crane Iron in 1912. Paul Miller was Gen Mgr of the Bryden, succeeding Jacob Roberts upon his death; his wife Louise was the daughter of Harry & Minnie Boyer Seaman (Seaman was pres of the Atlas Cement). The Miller’s lived here into the early 1920s, before moving to Virginia.
Not sure how or why the Crane owned the property, tho it wasn’t uncommon for companies to provide a residence for plant managers – more research is needed to see who lived here then. The Crane purchased it from David & Winifred Emanuel in 1903. The Emanuel’s picked it up at a sheriffs sale in 1902 – the sale was through Orphan’s Court (Lost the deed trace there). Given the price of $4600, the home was already on the property. Zillow records date the home to 1894. Schneller owned the lot on the 1876 map.
514 Pine St (Home shown above on the right)
The lot was part of the Crane Co until 1899, at which time Peckitt and Horn acquired the property along with nearby lots on Walnut St. By 1904, a house had been built on the lot. In 1905, Robert Wilbur purchased the home, then known as the “Heilig” property, enlarging and improving it. Another addition was made in 1909. R E Wilbur was a grandson of Elisha P Wilbur (nephew of Asa Packer (& both former presidents of the Lehigh Valley Railroad) and the son of Wilbur A Wilbur of Fountain Hill (pres of his father’s trust co). Elisha P Wilber,Jr, married Kitty Thomas, daughter of John & Helen Thomas of Catasauqua and Hokendauqua Robert E Wilbur was an officer, part owner, of the Lehigh Car, Wheel, and Axle Co, a founder of the Keystone Portland Cement Co (1907), and an officer of Wyandotte Throwing Co’s Northampton Heights Silk Mill that opened in 1910 (Kenneth Wilbur was president). He also served as president of the Charotin Club, located at 120 Bridge above the offices of the Empire Steel & Iron Co and VP of the Lehigh Valley National Bank. In 1913 he was put in charge of the assets of the Webb Co of Allentown when it went into Receivership. He lived here with his wife Nina Vyse (married in 1904/5) and children Kathryn, Sallie and Warren. The family moved to Fountain Hill in 1914 into a new home designed by Architect A W Leh at 618 Delaware Ave. He and his father formed the new Bethlehem Globe-Times newspaper, and in 1920, they were associated with the development of the Bethlehem Hotel. He also became an officer of the Bethlehem Foundry and Machine Co, a director of the Allentown National Bank, was on the Semi-Centenial committee for South Bethlehem, president of the South Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce, etc.
In 1919, Hugh/Hugo J Weidinger, treasurer of D G Dery Inc, and his wife Lili Petey (wed 1921) lived here until 1924 when he lost his home following the bankruptcy of the D G Dery company. When Joan Dery died of typhoid fever in 1910, Hugh was a pall bearer.
John and Charotte Viehe purchased the home in 1926 from Mrs Emory M Moyer, who had also created an apt in the rear. The Viehes lived here in the 1930s: John was an 1899 graduate of Lehigh Univ and worked as a statistician for PPL. He passed away around this time. They had 7 children at the home here in 1930: daughters Elizabeth and May were stenographerrs, John Jr, an electrician, two children still in school, Jane and Karl, and two younger children, Sage and Pierce. Elizabeth married C. D. Wheeler, May married Dr. Winfrey Porter Blackburn, 80, a surgeon, and they lived in Frankfort, Ky. Jane married Frederick Storch who was a teacher and football coach at CHS and later president of Whitehall Cement Co.
Other residents here were identified from newspaper articles and directories of the town.
1939-1958, Ruth C. Davis (a founder of Womens Club, PO employee retired 1935, died 1966). She lived here with her brother Clyde Davis (Ret machinist at Mack Truck, pool/playground mgr, died 1966)
1940: Edna M Hannah Smith
1941: Mr. and Mrs. (M&M) Thomas L Beitel
1947: Apt – M&M Thomas Anderson to Mrs Benjamin C Williams, widow
1963: Apt M&M Olin Webb; Olin died 1979, ran ARCo stn? for 30 yrs
In the 50’s, it was the home of Joseph and Rachael Morrow who moved here from 303 Wood St: Joseph was a mechanical engineer who became VP of Engineering at the Fuller Co.
1953-1957: Richard P Bower, and mother Mrs C D W Bower (died 1955), and son.
1957-1978: M&M Calvin Horner. Calvin died 1970; Helen: 1978
1955-1959: John T Williams, hardware business. Buys Saylor Lake in Monroe Co for development,1957
1964: M&M Daniel M Gillespie. “Deak” died 1966. 39 yr PPL employee. Fire dept, mayor, council, IOR.
The current resident of 514 heads up the Shade Tree Commission of Catasauqua.
On the east side of Howertown Road
Address: 532 Pine St The 1929/1930 directory lists this as the home of Eliza Walker. In 1900, this was the residence of Mr. and Mrs Reuben E Bower. Bower was the popular collector for the Prudential Insurance Co, an editor of the Christian Promoter, and a major temperance advocate in Lehigh County. His wife was Elizabeth Nagle of Allentown. Reuben was apparently dissatisfied with his future and disappeared suddently in 1901 for the Klondike seeking to make his fortune there, leaving his wife and children in the care of her parents.
Address; 534 Pine St Sue and Oscar H Shugar lived here. He was a councilperson c 1907 and Master Mechanic for the Crane,resigning that position to be a machinist at the Atlas Cement Mills.
Address: 537 Pine St The 1929/1930 directory lists this as the Andrew family home: David (laborer), his wife Mary, Robert (clerk), Sarah (steno). Address: 543 Pine St The 1898 directory lists this as the home of the Bloss family. Lewis Bloss, a laborer, lived here with his wife Ellen and the followiong others: Ralph (patternaker), William F. (blacksmith), Harry (barbere), Isabella (dressmaker) and Jennis L.
Address: 542 Pine St (ck pic for address 542 or 544?)
Name: Joseph Kane & Lizzie Downs
Year built: 1909
Built by: Joseph Kane & Lizzie DownsJoseph Kane’s father immigrated to America from Derry County Ireland in 1854, and went to work for the Thomas Iron Co in Hokendauqua. At the age of eleven, Joseph also started working there. At fourteen, he went to work for the Jersey Central RR as a car inspector, and in 1895 he was promoted to foreman car inspector for the Jersey Central line from Easton to Mauch Chunk. He remained with the Jersey Central RR for the rest of his life. He served on borough council and fire and water committees. He was active in the Bridge Street Presbyterian Church.
In 1904 Joseph Kane married Lizzie Downs, daughter of John Downs (English) and Mary Price (Welsh). Mary ran a store on Church St. Lizzie Downs was involved in real estate, at one time owning 557 Howertown Rd and two of the Walnut Street lots near Howertown.Address: 545 Pine St
Name: Arthur familyJohn Arthur was a mail carrier; his wife was named Rose. A Rose H. Arthur lived here also and ran a woman’s apparel business at 605 Front St circa 1930.